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More burned in 2021 wildfires so far than all of last year

More than 450,000 hectares have burned in B.C. so far in 2021
The Nk’Mip Creek Wildfire is over 6,500 hectares and growing. (BC Wildfire Service Twitter)

Damage from wildfires this year to date is well above normal levels for an entire fire season, according to statistics from the BC Wildfire Service.

As of July 27, a total of 1,252 fires had been reported provincewide, with 456,066 hectares burned.

Throughout all of 2020, there were 670 wildfires, burning a total of 14,536 hectares. In 2019, 825 fires burned a total of 21,138 hectares.

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The 10-year average, from 2011 to 2020, was 1,352 fires throughout the fire season, and 348,917 hectares burned. On average, 42 per cent of wildfires were caused by human activity, and 58 per cent were caused by lightning strikes. The average cost of these fires was $265.3 million per fire season.

The most destructive fire seasons on record in British Columbia were in 2017 and 2018. During the 2017 fire season, 1,353 wildfires burned 1,216,053 hectares. The costs associated with those fires were $649 million. The following year, 2,117 wildfires burned 1,354,284 hectares. The costs associated with those fires were $615 million.

This year’s figures so far show more than one-third the total number of fires that occurred throughout the entire 2017 or 2018 season. During those fire seasons, the majority of fire activity began in July or later.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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