Cattle walk through burned-out forest area along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake. (Coast Mountain News)

2017 now worst wildfire season in B.C.

Total area burned approaching 9,000 square km across the province

The 2017 B.C. wildfire season has surpassed the record for area burned set in 1958, wildfire officials say.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said in his daily update call Wednesday that the latest estimate is mostly as a result of mapping work, and is subject to change.

EARLIER: B.C. Wildfire season approaching 2009 record

“And of course we’re only halfway through August, so we expect that to increase,” Skrepnek said. “One silver lining to the weather that we’re seeing right now is that we’re not expecting the return of that massive high pressure … with high temperatures.”

But with no rain expected for southern B.C. and winds expected to pick up towards this weekend, he said it is likely the area burned will continue to increase at least in the short term.

To compound the dry conditions, Williams Lake RCMP had four youths in custody Wednesday, suspected of setting multiple fires in the Lexington subdivision of the city. The arrests came as Williams Lake’s evacuation alert was lifted after weeks of stand-by and an evacuation of the community.

RELATED: RCMP determine Lexington Road fire is caused by arson

Alexis Creek RCMP are also investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a mobile home 40 km west of the community. The fire did not spread beyond the residence.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said the federal and provincial governments are working on a compensation program for farmers and ranchers affected by the fire. The program is to assist with damage to farm operations and loss of grazing land as fires have swept across the ranching territory of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

RELATED: Financial support offered to fire-affected businesses

“We felt it was extremely important to let farmers and ranchers know that this is underway, to give them some peace of mind,” Popham said.

Just Posted

Clippers win 1 Iron, 2 Bronze, 3 Gold medals at BC champs!

Vanderhoof Clippers Speed Skating Club now the largest club in B.C.

Vanderhoof logging truck driver saves moose calf from snowbank

Local man rescued the calf after it got stuck upside down in the snow

B.C. Health Minister announces plan for new hospital in Terrace

“This means more beds, a level three trauma centre, better surgery and better care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

B.C. Family Day to move to third week in February next year

Premier John Horgan said the move is to better align the holiday with businesses and families

B.C. to increase minimum wage to $15.20/hour in 2021

Premier John Horgan says next increase will come in June

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

VIDEO: B.C. deer caught obeying traffic signs

A herd of deer in Fernie, B.C. is getting attention online after stopping for a stop sign

Most Read