Decrease in Lightning Sparked Fires, Increase in Human Causation

Kamloops Fire Centre Aug31

After experiencing devastating wildfires in the last two years, the Kamloops Fire Centre is seeing a drastic shift this time around.

New numbers from the BC wildfire Service are showing a decrease in lightning sparked fires but an increase in human causation.

While the decrease in fires is positive, Fire Information Officer Taylor Macdonald said humans have caused 75 per cent of fires this year; mostly due to cigarette butts, arson and unattended campfires.

According to MacDonald, a change in weather could also be contributing to the difference.

“It’s kind of hard to speculate exactly why but I think last year we had a lot of lightening driven fires and we had a lot of storms roll through. We did see a bit more rain in July than we did last year, so I think that also played a part in that as well.”

Comparing 2019 to 2018, the Kamloops Fire Centre reports a decrease of over 47,000 hectares in total area burned.

Just under half (44%) of the fires were caused by lightning in 2018. That number dropped to 25 per cent in 2019.

“For 2018 we had 417 fires total to this date last year and for that area burned we had 51,711 hectares burned. Versus this year to this date, we've had 141 fires and the total hectares burned have been 4,103ha,” said MacDonald.

But we’re not out of fire season yet.

MacDonald says length of fire season is largely driven by weather so it is difficult to determine when the 2019 wildfire season will end.