BC Wildfire Service Says Over 100 Wildfires Are Still Burning in the Province

A combination of a busy 2023 wildfire season, extreme drought, and generally warmer and drier conditions through December have left more than 100 wildfires still burning in British Columbia, The Canadian Press reported on Tuesday (1-15-24). Of note, about 80% of the fires that are still considered active are in the hard-to-access northeast region of BC, which is experiencing extreme drought.

BC Wildfire Service Information Officer Forrest Tower told The Canadian Pres that while it is not uncommon for some fires to burn through the winter, the number typically hovers near a couple of dozen, not the 106 that were listed as active on New Year’s Day.

“In the last 10 years, there were a couple of years where it was zero, but those were in years where we didn’t really have much of a fire season at all,” Tower added. “Most times we’re going to have, I would say, 15 or less, that would be kind of average, if we look at year-to-year on the first of January.”

Tower said July and August are typically BC’s busiest months for firefighting, which gives crews enough time at the end of their contract to tackle the smaller fires that didn’t require immediate attention. But the large number of more remote fires in 2023 meant that crews were unable to get eyes on every blaze by the last day of their extended contracts in November, he said.

The wildfire service is still collecting data before it will make any predictions about what the 2024 wildfire season could look like, The Canadian Press reported.

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