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‘Too early to compare’ BC Wildfire Service provides outlook on fire season

The BC Wildfire Service says the province is on track for an average fire season but it will depend on the weather we get this spring.

Wildfire operations director Cliff Chapman said the fires we’ve seen so far this season look worse than they are.

“For the fires that we have had across B.C., particularly in the last 10 days there has been quite a bit of impact around communities,” he said.

“It’s been a fairly average spring from a fire perspective but I recognize for those communities that had fires adjacent to them, it probably doesn’t feel average.”

The number of fires is above average but they haven’t been as big.

“We’ve had 131 fires since Jan. 1. The 10-year average for B.C. is roughly 100 so we’re just above the average,” Chapman said.

“We’ve roughly burnt 1,200 hectares this year. The 10-year average is over 3,000.”

He said it’s still too soon in the season to accurately gauge the extent of this year’s fire season.

“It’s easy for us to try and compare to 2017, 2018 and 2021 which were all catastrophic fire seasons. It’s too early to compare what this year will look like compared to those seasons.”

Wet weather is expected over the next week, which will have some positives and negatives.

“The weather that is coming won’t be a bad thing for wildfires,” Chapman said.

“We’ll see some moisture come into B.C. which will hopefully knock down some of the hazards, but the counter to that is the flood risk.”

Current wildfire status can be found using the province’s new wildfire dashboard using this link.

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