B.C. wildfires have burned nearly 825,000 hectares — four times the 10 year average

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Nearly 825,000 hectares of land have burned due to wildfires since April 1, more than quadruple the 10 year average for this point in the season, according to BC Wildfire Service.

“Significant winds over the weekend challenged our organization and we had steady growth on a number of fires of note in the southern interior. Fortunately the rain we received over the last 24 hours has calmed the fire behaviour,” said Todd Nessman, manager of wildfire operations for BC Wildfire Service.

He added more rain is expected today in the province’s interior, but said the precipitation would not reverse the very dry spring and summer conditions experienced so far. 

Over 3,800 firefighting personnel are battling 263 active wildfires across the province, 22 of which are human caused, Nessman said. Firefighters are being assisted by 210 aircraft, including 172 helicopters and 38 air tankers.

Highway 5 was reopened after closing Sunday due to wildfire activity, according to Brendan Ralfs, director of response with Emergency Management BC.

Across B.C. there are 35 local states of emergency, 10 First Nation band council resolutions and 86 evacuation orders related to wildfires, Ralfs said. Another 125 communities are on evacuation alert.

BC Wildfire Service has responded to 1,516 fires since April 1. The 10 year average for this point in the season is 1,036, according to Nessman.

The provincial dashboard shows only one wildfire on Vancouver Island. The 32-hectare Copper Canyon fire near Duncan, burning since Aug. 5, is not considered out of control.

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