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2017 BC Wildfire season officially worst ever recorded

Last Updated Aug 17, 2017 at 8:17 am MDT

Fire activity in the Bald Mountain area, which forced the closure of highway 20 over the weekend. (Courtesy BC Wildfire Service via Twitter)

This year’s wildfire season in BC is officially the worst on record according to the BC Wildfire Service, and there’s still more than a month of summer left.

The previous record was set in 1958 when 855,000 hectares of forest burned. Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says this year, 1029 fires have now scorched nearly 900,000 hectares since April 1st.

“This year is far and away the worst we’ve ever seen in terms of the hectares burnt,” he says. “And of course, it is only halfway through August, so there’s definitely potential for that number to continue growing.”

The amount of land lost to flames is equivalent to 79 cities the same size of Vancouver.

Skrepnek says strong winds keep fanning the flames.

“The presence of wind and the lack of rain are going to be much more critical factors and unfortunately, on those two issues, we’re really not seeing relief in the outlook right now,” he says.

Approximately 6,000 people across BC are still covered by evacuation orders.

As of April 1st, almost $316 million has been spent on the fire response, but that figure has not broken a record yet. In 2009, $382 million was spent fighting more than 3,000 fires, including some that destroyed several homes in the Okanagan.