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Quiet wildfire season in B.C. nearing an end

As in 2011 and 2016, this past summer did not have a campfire ban
Chase wildfire
Smoke rises from a wildfire near Chase on March 31, 2018.

The 2019 wildfire season has been tame in comparison to the past two summers.

Of note is that, this year, campfires were permitted throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre, with no bans implemented.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, there have been 782 fires this year, with 21,154 hectares burned.

There were nine wildfires of note, eight evacuation alerts and two evacuation orders.

Total cost this year has been $121 million.

In 2018, there were 2,117 fires that burned 1.3-million hectares.

Total cost was $615 million. There were 66 evacuation orders.

Of those 2,117 fires, 25 per cent were human-caused (including trains) and 70 per cent were lightning caused. Five per cent of the fires do not have an affixed cause.

The 10-year average, from 2008 through 2017, is 1,666 fires, with 43 per cent being human caused and 57 per cent being caused by lightning.

Recent years that are similar to the relatively quiet fire season of 2019 include 2016 and 2011.

In 2016 — a year in which there was no campfire ban issued in the Kamloops Fire Centre — there were 1,050 fires covering 100,000 hectares, with a final firefighting bill of $129 million.

In 2011 — another year without a campfire ban —there were 653 fires spanning 12,600 hectares and carrying a firefighting bill of $53.5 million.