Context: Less than 1 per cent of BC is burning
Current fire statistics show that the total area burned so far in BC is 498,315 hectares, just under half a million hectares. That number is staggering, until it is considered relative to the size of B.C.
This snapshot of BC from the Ministry of Forestry, British Columbia covers 95 million hectares. Forests cover 60 million hectares. According to the Wilderness Committee’s website, “Only about 22 million hectares of this vast forest was ever suitable for logging, and much of this has already been logged.”
Put into perspective, only half a percent of B.C.’s land mass is being affected. Less than 1 per cent of all forests (0.83 per cent) is affected. Even if all of the burned forests were suitable for logging, the dent is 2.27 per cent.
“The BC Wildfire Service is internationally recognised as a leader in wildfire management and is known for its skilled and committed personnel, uncompromising safety attitude, and innovative use of technology.
“British Columbia’s forests and wildland cover over 94 million hectares (nearly a million square kilometres) and are the most diverse in Canada. Confronted by an average of 2,000 wildfires each year, highly trained fire crews are successful in containing 94 percent of all wildfires (rank 1-4) in B.C. by 10am the following day.” – B.C. Government
Costs: The start of the 2017 fire season has consumed BC’s fire suppression budget for the next three plus years
According to this Globe and Mail article, as of August 4, 2017, fighting the fires in BC has cost over $204 million. According to this CBC article, the province of B.C. allocates $63 million per year for fighting fires. August is usually the peak of wildfire season in BC.
Cause: Almost 40 per cent of BC Wildfires are human caused
According to these BC Wildfire Statistics, “Humans were responsible for causing over half (or 566) of the 1,050 wildfires that started in 2016.” A table tracking causes for wildfires between 2006 and 2016 finds that on average, almost 40% of wildfires in BC are caused by humans. “The current 10-year average, taken from 2006 to 2015, is 1,844 fires, 38.7% caused by people and 61.3% caused by lightning.”
As of 9 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2017, there were 122 wildfires burning in B.C. As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, there were 25 evacuation orders affecting approximately 7,127 individuals, plus 42 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 24,957 people.
In a recent interview, Sooke fire fighter Jason Dixon said, “There is no end in sight.”
Contributions to which every BC resident could commit
According to Dixon, there are two main contributions that every individual can make.
- First, is diligence with fire prevention. This includes being aware of current danger ratings, obeying restrictions, and using common sense.
- Second is reporting. When in doubt, check it out. If you suspect a fire, contact your local fire department. They would much rather receive many false reports, than not hear about the fire started and quickly got out of control. If you see anything that causes you concern, please call it in! Phone numbers are listed below.
- New award to recognize efforts during this year’s floods and fires
- She’s Ba-ack! Sooke Engine 3 comes home
- BC fires in context (including cost and causes, and more)
- Supporting fire suppression efforts in BC: A day in the life of a Sooke volunteer fire fighter
- Sooke continues to attend #BCWildfire
- Update from Sooke Engine 3 at Cache Creek
- Otter Point adds crew to the interior wildfire roster
- #BCWildfire fire fighters soon to be relieved with replacement crew
- Twitter update, on Island fire fighters attending BC Wildfires
- Sooke sends two more fire fighters to help with efforts in central BC
- Update from Sooke/Metchosin/Langford team in 150 Mile House
- Sooke fire fighter among the team going to 150 Mile House
- Burning regulations in Sooke (Opening burning allowed from Oct 1 to May 31, but please refer to these regulations for specific details)
- Follow Government Fire Info on Twitter
- Follow Government Fire Info on Facebook
To report a wildfire, please call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. Local non-emergency numbers (in case of emergency, please phone 9-1-1):
- Sooke Fire Department: 250-642-5422
- Otter Point Fire Department: 250-642-6211
- Shirley Fire Department: 250-646-2107
- Port Renfrew Fire Department 250-647-0101
- East Sooke Fire Department: 250-642-4411