Northwest wildfire stats down

Total hectares burned amount to only four percent of the number recorded last year in northwest B.C.

The number and size of wildfires in the northwest region are down substantially this year.

Fire officials report that to-date there have been more than a dozen fewer fires this summer and total hectares burned amount to only four per cent of the number recorded by this time last year.

“We had a very wet June so it feels like it’s been a slow fire season this year, however, there have still been more fires than our 10-year average,” noted Haley Williams, fire information officer for the Northwest Fire Centre.

As of last week, there were 55 wildfires reported in the northwest, down from 70 recorded in 2015. Yet the average number of fires in the area to-date is only 44.

A recent surge of small lightening-caused fires over the weekend of July 16-17 boosted this year’s total well above the average.

Over that period, a total of six small wildfires occurred in the Terrace and Kitimat area though none were over a hectare in size.

A further two fires were sparked near the Yukon border.

“Those fires have all been actioned and have either been called ‘out’ or are in patrol status, which means that they will be checked once more before being called out,” explained Williams.

The number of hectares burned by wildfires has decreased this year – totaling just 1,184 compared to 30,072 in 2015.

Human-caused fires also amount to a dozen less than last year.

This allowed crews to spend time in other fire zones across the province and into Alberta during the spring, battling sizable fires there, said Williams.

Last year recorded one of the highest number of wildfires here in a decade, only second to 2009 when 74 were sparked by June 21.

The northwest fire region stretches from the Yukon boarder in the north, east to Endako and south to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.