A 'fire tornado' erupts from the Chelaslie River fire in west central B.C.

Updated: 2014 wildfire season now ranks sixth for most area burned

No homes lost in B.C. fire season but 338,000 hectares burned now exceeds 2010 tally (WITH INFOGRAPHIC)

This summer’s wildfire season is going down as one of the most destructive on record in B.C.

As of Sept.5 , fires had burned up more than 338,000 hectares across the province, surpassing the 337,000 hectares destroyed in the 2010 fire season.

This year is still far short of 1958, when 856,000 hectares burned, but 2014 now ranks sixth by that measure and could move into fifth place if it surpasses 1950’s 343,339 hectares, or even third if it tops the 351,000 lost in 1971.

While much timber has burned, no homes or other significant structures have been lost this year, so by that measure it’s been nowhere near as catastrophic as the 2003 fire season, when more than 300 homes were lost or damaged in the Okanagan Mountain and McClure fires.

But it has been costly.

The province has so far spent more than $266 million fighting wildfires, more than four times what was budgeted, and more than the $212 million expended in 2010.

Despite wet weather on the Labour Day weekend, fire officials are bracing for more warm dry spells in September.

“It’s unlikely we’ve seen the end of the fire season by any stretch of the imagination,” fire information officer Dustin Eno said.

The actual number of fires this year – more than 1,330 – is well below the average of 1,600 a year.

But many of the fires have been very large.

The biggest, and now 65 per cent contained, is the 133,000-hectare Chelaslie River fire, which is between Anahim Lake and Burns Lake, near Entiako and Tweedsmuir provincial parks. An evacuation order continues for owners of cabin in Entiako Provincial Park.

The largest evacuations this summer have included the China Nose fire near Houston and the McAllister fire, which forced the evacuation of the entire town of Hudson’s Hope in July.

Assisting B.C. crews have been large numbers of imported firefighters and equipment, from other provinces, Alaska and Australia.

“We’ve brought in a lot and have been very grateful to be able to draw on those relationships, both right across Canada and internationally,” Eno said.

“Last year we exported a lot of firefighters to fight in other jurisdictions and this year they were able to return that favour.”

BC fire season stats | Create Infographics

Just Posted

Victoria Women’s March draws hundreds

Pink pussy hats aplenty as demonstrators took to downtown streets

Backyard of $2.2M Uplands property bulldozed for BMX jump track

34-year-old financial advisor fulfills childhood dream

Oak Bay Council agenda at a glance

Regional Transportation Service, major reserve funds, and Oak Bay Heritage on tonight’s agenda

Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

Backyard of $2.2M Uplands property bulldozed for BMX jump track

34-year-old financial advisor fulfills childhood dream

Tofino and Ucluelet wowed by biggest waves in a decade

“Even in pictures you show the kids and that, unless you’re witnessing it live, it’s like no other.”

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Vikes women run to 6-0, win first rugby sevens tourney of season

UVic Vikes this week: Hoops teams host shoot for the cure

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Most Read