Weather a wildcard when forecasting forest fires over the rest of the summer

Photo Credit: B.C. Wildfire Service

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Though rains across much of the province, and indeed the BC Peace Region have dampened wildfire danger ratings across the province, we might not be out of the woods just yet.

Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds with the Prince George Fire Centre says that the northeastern part of the province in particular has seen more rain that in past years, when the wildfire situation saw large swaths of forest catch fire. According to Reynolds, 200 fires have occurred in the Prince George Fire Centre so far this year, burning 91,022 hectares. At this time last year, there were 286 fires covering a total of 228,247 hectares. The only major fires of note this year were the Beatton Airport Road and Siphon Creek fires, which have collectively burned just over 78,400 hectares. Reynolds says that all 200 of those fires currently burning in the fire centre are currently in either the mop-up or patrol stages, meaning that crews aren’t worried about them spreading any further.

The wildfire danger rating across the province on July 19th.
The wildfire danger rating across the province on July 19th.

So far this year, the bill for battling fires in the fire centre totals $22,143,597, or 30 percent of the $72.7 million spent province-wide so far this year. At this time last year, that amount stood at over $111 million.

Reynolds added that fire crews will be keeping an eye on the weather forecast for any change in the wetter-than-usual weather pattern that we’ve seen so far this summer. At this point, crews have no plans to re-implement fire bans that were in place across the region earlier this year, however they say that conditions could change in a very short period of time if an extended dry spell comes our way.