HomeLocal NewsLowest human-caused wildfire seasons on BC records in 70+ years

Lowest human-caused wildfire seasons on BC records in 70+ years

During a media conference

British Columbia wildfire report for September says 1,355 wildfires have been recorded in the province since April 1, 2022, resulting in 43,000 hectares of area burned

On Thursday, Forests Minister Katrine Conroy said this is lower than the 20 year average for this time of year.

“By comparison to last year over the same time period, we had responded to 1,562 fires with 865,298 hectares burned reflecting last year’s extreme conditions,” Conroy said.

The majority of wildfires recorded since April of this year, 93% are out, under control or being held

Year to date area burned is sitting at 17%, much lower than the 20 year average. The dramatic drop in area burned could be attributed to mullite reasons said Neal McLoughlin, superintendent of Predictive Service, adding the reasons may seem to conflict with each other that we have had hot dry conditions but less burn.

“We had above normal over winter precipitation, cooler spring temperatures, late snow melt that upper elevations and an overall late start to the fire season,” he listed.

“In July and August we did see this repeating pattern of high-pressure ridges followed by upper lows bringing new lightning starts, but in general the weather pattern produced light winds and stable atmospheres and those play a big role in limiting fire growth.”

According to Water supply June 2022 report the progression of snowmelt was delayed this year. As of June 15, 2022, using the average of all snow snow measurements across
B.C., snow melt was above normal increasing to 198% of normal. However the report says the normal has been decreasing over the years, the most recent examples of very high June values were 2011 & 2012.

Snowmelt was delayed by two to four weeks due to extended cooler weather in April and May, where approximately half of the snow pack at automated snow weather stations melted by June 15th.

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For September, Vancouver Island and southern BC can expect to be one to three degrees warmer than average and a return to normal temperatures come October

For September, McLaughlin said “our Pacific Ocean temperatures remain three to five degrees Celsius above normal” which could cause Vancouver Island and southern BC to experience a little higher than normal temperatures. There’s still a possiblity the for the effect to be felt all the way up to the northern border.

Strong winds is not mentioned in the Environment Climate change Canada (ECCC) presentation material but he notes ECCC is concerned fall weather patterns could bring strong winds, which have been limitd this year playing a role with keeping the fires

He notes Environment Climate Change Canada has expressed concern for fall weather patterns that bring strong winds, which have so far been limited and been a key part of keeping BC fire sizes smaller this year.

McLaughlin and Conroy also thanked the public for their vigilance with helping keep human caused fires to a minimum.

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Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise


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