Four Month Wildfire Season Update

A photo of the Beatton Airport Road fire taken on May 14, 2016 - B.C. Wildfire Service

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Despite the bad start here in the northeast, Provincial Fire Information Officer Claire Allen says the four month numbers for the current wildfire season show, that to date, this has been a better year than last year.

It’s also important to note that much of the aforementioned burn area this fiscal year, in fact about 97% of it, has occurred in the Prince George Fire Centre, and more specifically mostly here in the northeast this spring.

Taking the comparison beyond last year, the generalized average number of wildfires in BC each year is given as 2000, making the 2015 total of 1858, slightly below that norm.

However, the total cost of the fires in each of the last two years was way beyond the average, for the ten year period ending in 2014, of $158.9 million.

In 2015 that total was $277 million and in 2014 it was even higher at $297.9 million.

This year, the four month total was over 80 million, and already nearly $20 million more than this year’s budget of $63 million.

The most costly year in the aforementioned ten year period, was 2009, at $382.1 million, and that was also the year, of the greatest number of posted fires during the period 3064.

Curiously however, it was not the year of the greatest burn area, and in fact, the 247 thousand 419 hectares that year was less than three others, including the top total 369 thousand 168 in 2014.

The year with the least number of fires was 2011, with only 653, followed by 2005, the only other year during the period, under one thousand, with 976.

Meantime in reverse order, those two years also posted the lowest fire-fighting costs of $47.2 million in 2005 and $53.5 million in 2011.