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B.C.'s 2022 wildfire season under budget with few human-caused fires

BC Wildfire Service has spent $223 million of the $350 million allocated in the budget this year, as wildfire season ramps down.
A wildland firefighter in red shirt inspects a recently extinguished fire looking for hotspots.

The 2022 wildfire season is shaping up to be less disruptive and costly than the average one, as human-caused fires plummeted to near record lows, according to the B.C. Ministry of Forests and the BC Wildfire Service.

After budgeting its first year-round operation, the B.C. government appears poised to save millions of dollars this year thanks to the cool, wet weather experienced in spring and early summer.

Since April 1, the BC Wildfire Service has spent $223 million of the $350 million allocated. The 10-year average, from 2010 to 2020, is $265.3 million.

To date, just 42,997 hectares of forests have burned in B.C., as opposed to 865,295 hectares last year, costing the public $565 million.

However, above-seasonal temperatures forecast for September mean that wildfire risk remains a concern throughout the province, stated the ministry in a statement.

This year marked a unique milestone, as "B.C. is currently experiencing one of the lowest human-caused wildfire seasons since 1950,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests.

“We're asking all British Columbians to continue the great work they have been doing this season as we stay vigilant over the Labour Day weekend and for the remainder of the 2022 fire season," said Conroy.

Neal McLoughlin, superintendent of predictive services for BC Wildfire Service, said over half of all fires were started in August. Of those 889 new fire starts in August, 85% of them were due to lightning.

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