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1.39M hectares: B.C. wildfire season now worst on record

Amount of land destroyed so far this year has surpassed 2018 wildfire season.
Wildfire destruction in 2023 has destroyed more land than any other season on record in British Columbia. (BC Wildfire Service)

British Columbia’s wildfire season is now the worst on record for the province in terms of the amount of land burned.

As of late afternoon on July 17, the province had seen a total of 1,159 wildfires, destroying more than 1.39 million hectares. The figures come from the BC Wildfire Service.

The majority of the damage this year has been in the Prince George Fire Centre’s area, covering northeastern British Columbia. That region of the province has had 382 wildfires, destroying close to 1.25 million hectares.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s fire season now second-worst on record

Previously, the worst fire season on record had been in 2018, when 2,117 fires destroyed 1.34 million hectares

The cost of fighting wildfires that year reached $615 million.

In 2017, the wildfire season was also one of the worst in the province’s history, with more than 1.2 million hectares burned. Fire suppression costs that year were more than $649 million and roughly 65,000 people were evacuated.

The 2021 wildfire season destroyed more than 869,000 hectares. Fire suppression costs that year were $718.8 million.

In each of these years, wildfire activity was most intense in late July and August.

Wildfire statistics in British Columbia are calculated from April 1 to March 31 each year.

In addition to British Columbia’s wildfire statistics, Canada has also set a record for the amount of land burned in a single year. On June 26, the national wildfire statistics showed 76,129 hectares destroyed by wildfire. This is greater than the previous record for a year, set during 1989. National fire statistics are calculated for the calendar year.

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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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