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Wildfire Smoke Blankets British Columbia

NASA's Earth Observatory
A difficult fire season in western Canada brings its impacts to coastal city streets.eets

A number of forest fires are continuing to burn in British Columbia.  As Craig McCulloch reports, the cost and smoke permeating the Vancouver area is getting attention.

The British Columbia Wildlife Service is reporting that 76 active fires larger than 25 acres (10 hectares) are currently burning across the province. There are many more smaller fires engulfing forests.

This is an unseasonably early start, as most noticeable fires usually do not take hold until later in the summer.

Two of the fires that are getting the most attention is in the Elaho Valley north of the ski resort of Whistler and another inferno near Sechelt.

Located on the so called “Sunshine Coast,"  which is a 40 minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, this fire caused extensive haze and even ash to fall across Greater Vancouver all week. Smoke from this fire could even be seen inside BC Place Stadium during TEAM USA’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup last weekend.

A total of 951 fires have been reported since April 1st, which have burned 650 thousand acres (263,148 hectares).

The Ministry of Forest’s has indicated this has cost just over 76 million dollars ($96.6 million Cdn = 76,089,956.59), far exceeding this year’s entire annual forecasted budget of almost 50 million dollars ($63 million Cdn = 49,623.884.73 USD).

On average, government officials report that about half the fires are started by humans.  

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