Cattle walk through burned-out forest area along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake. (Coast Mountain News)

Cattle walk through burned-out forest area along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake. (Coast Mountain News)

2017 now worst wildfire season in B.C.

Total area burned approaching 9,000 square km across the province

The 2017 B.C. wildfire season has surpassed the record for area burned set in 1958, wildfire officials say.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said in his daily update call Wednesday that the latest estimate is mostly as a result of mapping work, and is subject to change.

EARLIER: B.C. Wildfire season approaching 2009 record

“And of course we’re only halfway through August, so we expect that to increase,” Skrepnek said. “One silver lining to the weather that we’re seeing right now is that we’re not expecting the return of that massive high pressure … with high temperatures.”

But with no rain expected for southern B.C. and winds expected to pick up towards this weekend, he said it is likely the area burned will continue to increase at least in the short term.

To compound the dry conditions, Williams Lake RCMP had four youths in custody Wednesday, suspected of setting multiple fires in the Lexington subdivision of the city. The arrests came as Williams Lake’s evacuation alert was lifted after weeks of stand-by and an evacuation of the community.

RELATED: RCMP determine Lexington Road fire is caused by arson

Alexis Creek RCMP are also investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a mobile home 40 km west of the community. The fire did not spread beyond the residence.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said the federal and provincial governments are working on a compensation program for farmers and ranchers affected by the fire. The program is to assist with damage to farm operations and loss of grazing land as fires have swept across the ranching territory of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

RELATED: Financial support offered to fire-affected businesses

“We felt it was extremely important to let farmers and ranchers know that this is underway, to give them some peace of mind,” Popham said.

bc wildfires

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

Just Posted

A&W on Ryan Road confirmed a positive case of COVID-19 at their restaurant and temporarily shut its doors. Google Maps photo
Courtenay restaurant temporarily closed due to COVID-19 exposure

It’s the latest business in the Valley to be affected by the virus

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Strathcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo school district chosen as Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: B.C. teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Most Read