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B.C.’s fire damage tops 2 million hectares

2023 wildfire season is worst in province’s recorded history
The McDougall Creek wildfire burns on the mountainside above a lakefront home, in West Kelowna, B.C., on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Wildfires in British Columbia in 2023 have now destroyed more than 2 million hectares of land across the province.

As of the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 3, the province recorded 2,072 wildfires, destroying 2,189,160.187 hectares.

Roughly three-quarters of the fire damage — around 1.7 million hectares — has been in the Prince George Fire Centre’s area, in northeastern British Columbia. However, other regions of the province have also sustained significant fire damage.

READ ALSO: 1.39M hectares: B.C. wildfire season now worst on record

READ ALSO: WILDFIRES 2023: an overview of the fire situation across B.C.

The Kamloops Fire Centre’s area, which includes the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, has had more than 191,000 hectares destroyed. In the Northwest Fire Centre’s area, more than 149,000 hectares have been destroyed.

The wildfire season of 2023, which began April 1 and continues until March 31, 2024, has been by far the worst in the province’s history. By July 17, the fire season had become the most destructive on record.

Previously, British Columbia’s worst fire season on record was in 2018 when 2,118 fires destroyed 1.34 million hectares. The 2017 season saw more than 1.2 million hectares burned. Those were the only fire seasons prior to 2023 to top 1 million hectares of land burned.

In 2021, more than 869,000 hectares were burned in wildfires in B.C.

Canada has also set a record for the nationwide wildfire season. On June 26, the national wildfire statistics showed 76,129 square kilometres destroyed by wildfires. At the national level, wildfire damage is calculated from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Prior to 2023, the worst year for wildfires across Canada had been 1989.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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