It’s a quiet year for fires. At least, so far.
As of July 24, the Columbia Fire Zone has had seven fires with just over 25 hectares burned this year. On that same day last year, the Columbia Zone had 21 fires, but only six hectares had burned.
The Columbia Fire Zone extends from the Alberta border to the east near Three Valley Gap to just north of Mica Dam and Pingston Creek to the south. The region encompasses or is adjacent to 4 National Parks (Mt. Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, Kootenay) and several smaller Provincial Parks (Cummins Lakes, Martha Creek and Blanket Creek). This zone overlays the Columbia Forest District and includes communities such as Revelstoke, Golden, Mica Creek and Nicholson.
In total, the area is 1.8 million hectares, which is larger than Kuwait.
For the past ten years, on average the area has 66 fires per season and more than 900 hectares burned.
According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, as of July 25, there are 36 fires burning in B.C. By this time last year, there were 97.
For the province, 12,300 hectares has so far burned as compared to 56,400 hectares this time last year.
Erika Berg, a B.C. Wildfire information officer, said last year’s wildfire season didn’t pick up until the end of July,
therefore, it’s too early to tell what conditions will be like in August.
“For southern B.C. we are seeing dryer conditions for August, but in northeastern B.C., they’re seeing more precipitation,” said Berg.
With fewer wildfires this season, Berg explained the province has saved on its wildfire budgets.
“We have seen a quieter July, which has affected costs, we have spent $76.6-million to date, that is a 35 per cent decrease from last year,” said Berg.
Out of the 36 fires burning Berg said 27 were lightning-caused and eight were human-caused fires.
Files contributed by Laryn Gilmour