B.C.’s wildfire season now 2nd-worst on record — behind only last year

This year’s wildfire season is now the second-worst in B.C. history when it comes to the amount of land that’s burned.

More than 945,000 have been scorched by fires since April 1.

The Island Lake Wildfire from the eastern section of Francois Lake Road, about half a kilometre west of Stellako Lodge, as seen earlier this month. (Submitted by David Luggi)

Last year, the record was set when more than 1.2 million hectares of land were destroyed by wildfire.

The new total means B.C. has gone back to back with its most destructive summers of fire.

As of Friday, more than 550 fires were burning across the province. Sixty are considered fires of note, meaning they threaten people or property or are highly visible.

Most of the notable fires are in the province’s southeast, northwest and Interior regions.

Nearly 5,000 people had been forced from their homes due to wildfire as of Thursday afternoon. Another 22,000 were under evacuation alerts.

The sky over Prince George was still dark orange — and outright black in some places — as smoke and ash from the nearby Shovel Lake wildfire floated over the B.C. city on Aug. 17, 2018. Evacuees from around the region were lined up outside the emergency reception centre. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

Buildings lost

At least half a dozen buildings have reportedly been lost to fire this summer. Three burned near Takysie Lake in northern B.C. on Wednesday.

Several others were destroyed in the community of Lower Post, just south of the Yukon border.

Walter Carlick of the Daylu Dena Council (bottom left) listens to an update from emergency officials in Watson Lake, Yukon, about the wildfire burning near Lower Post on Aug. 22, 2018. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Last summer saw more structural losses, with at least 200 buildings destroyed or damaged in the Cariboo and another 215 in the Thompson-Nicola district.

The Shovel Lake fire, burning between Burns Lake and Prince George, is still the largest in the province at more than 91,000 hectares in size — nearly eight times the City of Vancouver.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

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