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Review underway into BC wildfire season and response

Last Updated Sep 30, 2017 at 9:50 am PST

File Photo. (Source: BC Wildfire Service via Twitter)

The BC Wildfire Service will review the recent, record-setting wildfire season

Recommendations from the review will inform how the province approaches future wildfire seasons

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A review is underway at a provincial level as we get closer to the end of British Columbia’s record-setting wildfire season.

This season, 65,000 people were forced from their homes as flames scorched about 1.2 million hectares of land.

Fire Information Officer Ryan Turcot says the BC Wildfire Service will now review how this season went and what crews can do to improve things next year.

“That’s the period we’re heading into now, we are taking a close look at everything that happened this year. And recommendations from that review will inform how government approaches future wildfire seasons.”

Turcot says there’s no doubt crews worked hard, but he wasn’t able to confirm if more people will be hired in BC, if we see a repeat next year.

“(That’s) one thing we’re going to be reviewing in the months coming ahead. Certainly the BC Wildfire Service, in collaboration with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, and just looking at fire activity nationally, we’ll continue to factor in resourcing moving forward.”

He says the two days of July 7th and 8th were where it all went downhill this season.

“A very large amount of wildfires starting over a pretty short amount of time in terrain that was basically primed for heavy fire activity.”

Turcot says technically, the fire season isn’t over yet.

“In terms of wildfire activity, some of the larger fires we saw this year will still be burning until snow hits the ground. But fire activity is declining to a point where there is not much to be concerned about.”

Most of the more than 1,200 fires this season were sparked by lightning, but Turcot says too many were still caused by people.

At one point there were crews from every province as well as the US, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand fighting BC’s fires.

Firefighting efforts have cost the provincial government more than $500 million since April 1st.