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

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

Just Posted

CELEBRATING IN STYLE
Members of the 2021 Alberni District Secondary School graduating class pose for a photo at McLean Mill National Historic Site on June 12. Graduates held their prom on Saturday, although things looked a little different due to COVID-19. See more on page A10. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni 2021 grads celebrate prom with car cruise

Special event held at McLean Mill National Historic Site

The Port Alberni Bombers are one of the newest teams in the VIJHL. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni Bombers to host first ID camp for roster spots

Roster spots for the Junior B team will be filled at the conclusion of the camp

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

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

Most Read