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2018 was B.C.'s worst wildfire season — 1.35 million hectares burned

Tuesday, June 21st 2022, 4:30 am - On this day in weather history, the Comstock Lake fire was discovered.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Thursday, June 21, 2018, a wildfire was discovered in Comstock Lake, British Columbia. By the end of June, this was one of 560 fires that broke out in B.C.

By the end of 2018, 2,115 fires broke out in B.C., burning 1.35 million hectares of land. This is B.C.'s worst fire season on record.

In 2018, 60 per cent of Canada's total burned area took place in B.C. From 1990 to 2018, on average, seven per cent of Canada's burned area took place in B.C.

The Comstock Lake fire was started by lightning. It took more than 200 people to fight the outbreak. By July 6, the fire was 27.5 square km and still not contained.

In 2018, the top three most destructive wildfires were the Tweedsmuir Complex fire (301,549 hectares), Johnny Creek Fire (156,775 hectares), and Alkali Lake Complex fire (121,215 hectares).

Throughout the season, 1,467 fires were started by lightning and 443 by human activity.

Though fires are important for forest health, diversity, and renewal, they also create greenhouse gases and pose health risks.

The B.C. fires caused smoke that contributed to poor air quality. That summer, the air quality was rated "a high health risk."

1920px-British Columbia fires august 20 *"Wildfires over British Columbia on August 20." Courtesy of Wikipedia*

Experts say that the B.C.'s wildfire seasons have been so aggressive for several reasons, including a lack of controlled burning efforts. In 2018, approximately $615 million was spent on fire management.

Experts also say that climate change is another factor. The change in weather patterns has brought drier weather and more lightning to B.C.

To learn more about the Comstock Lake fire and B.C.'s 2018 wildfire season, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: "Wildfires over British Columbia on August 20." Courtesy of Wikipedia

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