Nearly 90% of wildfires in B.C. have been human caused since fire season began last month, according to BC Wildfire Services.
Since April 1, fire crews have responded to 208 wildfires in the province, 172 of which were confirmed to have been caused by humans. Only four were caused by lightning and the rest are still under investigation.
“Initially in mid-March, the Cariboo Fire Centre got the earliest start to the season, and, of course, on April 18, there was a big wind event that started up all the fires that we’re seeing in the Peace Region right now,” Ryan Purcot with B.C. Wildfire Services tells Vancity Buzz. “In that one day alone, there were over 40 new wildfires started.”
Purcot says the majority of the active wildfires are in the Prince George area. There are currently 58 wildfires burning in that region, ranging in size from 48 to 9,500 hectares.
“It’s clear that we’ve had an early and aggressive start to this wildfire season,” says Purcot. “We’ve seen drier than normal conditions and higher than normal temperatures.”
As far as the outlook for the summer goes, Purcot says it’s too early to tell.
“One of the big factors of how intense the wildfire season will be depends on the late spring precipitation that the province receives between late May and mid-June. That’s going to set how dry the force fuels are going into the core months of the summer.”
Last year, a particularly hot and dry summer caused 1,600 wildfires to blaze throughout the province.