BC’s disastrous wildfire season has already set a new record for total area burned in a year, with nearly 14,000 square kilometers consumed by hundreds of blazes across the province.
The website of the provincial society for the protection of forests against fire indicates that 13,935 square kilometers have been burned since 1er April, surpassing the previous record of 13,543 km2 established in 2018, but for the whole year.
However, there are still several months in this fire season and the provincial agency recalls that there are currently nearly 400 fires burning in British Columbia.
There have been 1,186 fires so far this year, suggesting that the average size of these fires was 84% larger than in 2018.
Dozens of properties have also been placed under an evacuation order or placed “on alert” in the Kootenay region, in the southeast of the province, after new wildfires near Cranbrook temporarily closed the city airport.
Troops are arriving in British Columbia this week to lend a helping hand, with helicopters and a Hercules aircraft, as the provincial government has asked for 1,000 more international firefighters to join teams from Mexico, the United States and Australia already in the field.
Sarah Budd of the provincial forest protection agency said the military should play a supporting role to firefighters. “They’re not going to do […] direct combat. It takes a lot of practice, she explained in an interview. They will do more cleaning and support tasks. »
Sophie Wilkinson, an assistant professor of environmental management at Simon Fraser University, points out that the wildfire season is also “unprecedented” because there have been historic fire seasons in other provinces and territories, so that interprovincial resources are exhausted.
“While military aid has not been common in the past, it will become increasingly so as the severity of wildfire seasons in British Columbia and Canada increase due to climate change,” said she explained.