2017 Likely Worst Fire Season On Record
Prince George, B.C.- With an estimated 845,000 hectares burned, B.C. Wildfire Service Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says “We are on track for this to be the worst fire season when it comes to hectares burned.”
The current season is closing in on the 1958 fire season when 855,000 hectares were consumed by flames. Skrepnek says with the forecast for the coming week, there is every possibility the current season will surpass the 1958 numbers.
The fires have already destroyed 71 homes, 118 outbuildings, 3 commercial operations, a bridge in the Kluskus area, and a number of other buildings which do not fit within the other classifications.
Skrepnek says the rain over the past couple of days was a “temporary fixture” and more hot, dry weather is on the way, with the potential for lightning and gusty winds. It is the wind that has whipped up the Hanceville-Riske Creek fire, helping it to grow to its current estimated size of 212 thousand hectares.”Wind has been a challenge for us” says Skrepnek “So if we are seeing that wind without any accompanying rain, we are likely to have another increase in fire activity.”
The other large fire in the central interior is the Elephant Hill fire, which is estimated at 168 thousand hectares.
While the Cariboo Regional District has downgraded some evacuation orders to evacuation alerts, there is still a threat and all residents are being reminded to prepare to leave their homes should the situation worsen and the alerts be upgraded