Record Breaking Fire Season
Prince George, B.C.- Although more accurate mapping could see some fluctuation in numbers, the 2017 wildfire season has seen 894,491 hectares burned, the worst on record in B.C.
The previous record for hectares burned, dates back to 1958. During that season, 855 thousand hectares were burned. Chief Information Officer for the BC Wildfire Service , Kevin Skrepnek says the numbers for 2017 are expected to climb even higher “Given what we have already seen and how much active fire we have out there, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that number is going to continue to climb.”
The fire season in B.C. still has several difficult weeks ahead, and this weekend could pose more significant challenges as gusty winds and possible dry lightning are predicted for the Cariboo region.
“One silver lining to the weather we are seeing right now, is, we don’t anticipate a return of that massive ridge of high pressure” says Skrepnek. He says more seasonal temperatures are expected “Having said that, the presence of wind and the lack of rain are going to be much more critical factors and unfortunately, on those two issues, we are really not seeing any relief in the outlook right now.”
Skrepnek says the rain over the past couple of days in a number of areas has “calmed things down, but in all likelihood, these fires are going to flare back up as soon as the wind increases and once what little rain did come, dries out.”
There is some good news, highway 97 has been fully opened, and Highway 20 has been reopened in the Riske Creek area.
While there have been some evacuation orders and alerts rescinded over the past 24 hours, there are still some 6,000 people on evacuation order, a further 20 thousand to 22 thousand remain on evacuation alert.