British Columbia’s disastrous wildfire season has set a new record for the total area burned in a year, with almost 14,000 square kilometres scorched and hundreds of fires burning across the province.
The B.C. Wildfire Service website says 13,935 square kilometres have been burned since April 1, surpassing the previous record of 13,543 square kilometres set in 2018.
But there are still months to go in this year’s season and the service says there are almost 400 fires currently burning.
There have been 1,186 fires so far this year, suggesting the average size of the fires this year has been 84 per cent larger than in 2018.
Bowinn Ma, minister of emergency management, said in a statement Tuesday that this fire season has been the most persistent on record.
“We know that the road ahead of us is long, complex and challenging,” she said.
Canadian Armed Forces troops are arriving in B.C. this week to join the battle, bringing helicopters and a Hercules aircraft, while the province has asked for 1,000 more international firefighters to join crews from Mexico, the United States and Australia already on the ground.
Ma said she’s thankful the federal government quickly approved the request.
“This support is substantial, robust and will give British Columbia the tools and personnel it needs to keep people safe.”
Dozens of properties have been put on evacuation order or alert in the Kootenay region in B.C.’s southeast after new wildfires near Cranbrook temporarily shut the city’s airport.
Feature image: FILE – Smoke billows from the Donnie Creek wildfire burning north of Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)