A 'fire tornado' erupts from the Chelaslie River fire in west central B.C.

Updated: 2014 wildfire season now ranks sixth for most area burned

No homes lost in B.C. fire season but 338,000 hectares burned now exceeds 2010 tally (WITH INFOGRAPHIC)

This summer’s wildfire season is going down as one of the most destructive on record in B.C.

As of Sept.5 , fires had burned up more than 338,000 hectares across the province, surpassing the 337,000 hectares destroyed in the 2010 fire season.

This year is still far short of 1958, when 856,000 hectares burned, but 2014 now ranks sixth by that measure and could move into fifth place if it surpasses 1950’s 343,339 hectares, or even third if it tops the 351,000 lost in 1971.

While much timber has burned, no homes or other significant structures have been lost this year, so by that measure it’s been nowhere near as catastrophic as the 2003 fire season, when more than 300 homes were lost or damaged in the Okanagan Mountain and McClure fires.

But it has been costly.

The province has so far spent more than $266 million fighting wildfires, more than four times what was budgeted, and more than the $212 million expended in 2010.

Despite wet weather on the Labour Day weekend, fire officials are bracing for more warm dry spells in September.

“It’s unlikely we’ve seen the end of the fire season by any stretch of the imagination,” fire information officer Dustin Eno said.

The actual number of fires this year – more than 1,330 – is well below the average of 1,600 a year.

But many of the fires have been very large.

The biggest, and now 65 per cent contained, is the 133,000-hectare Chelaslie River fire, which is between Anahim Lake and Burns Lake, near Entiako and Tweedsmuir provincial parks. An evacuation order continues for owners of cabin in Entiako Provincial Park.

The largest evacuations this summer have included the China Nose fire near Houston and the McAllister fire, which forced the evacuation of the entire town of Hudson’s Hope in July.

Assisting B.C. crews have been large numbers of imported firefighters and equipment, from other provinces, Alaska and Australia.

“We’ve brought in a lot and have been very grateful to be able to draw on those relationships, both right across Canada and internationally,” Eno said.

“Last year we exported a lot of firefighters to fight in other jurisdictions and this year they were able to return that favour.”

BC fire season stats | Create Infographics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Police ask for help locating missing high-risk youth

Robyn Coker-Steel has not been in contact with anyone from her home since Dec. 27

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: Study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Some 500 people attend Sidney vigil for victims of Iran airplane crash

All 176 passengers, including 57 Canadians, died when Flight PS752 crashed

Six boat wrecks wash up on Cadboro Bay beaches over the weekend

Dead Boat Society working with Oak Bay, Saanich to clear derelict boats

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Surrey’s ‘Pink Palace’ being used for Stephen King horror shoot

New web series based on King’s The Stand novel

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Most Read