B.C. wildfires by the numbers

July 17, 2017
Written by CTV News
As many as 37,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in British Columbia due to relentless wildfires that continue to scorch swaths of the province, according the latest update from B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

Fast-moving flames fueled by strong winds have made predicting the behaviour of more than 160 fires burning in B.C. perilously difficult. Stone said officials are doing as much as possible keep people and property safe. But he also warned the worst may not be over.

“We want all evacuees to know that all levels of government are working hard,” Stone told reporters. “We are predicting a very hot and dry summer. This means there will be an ongoing risk in the interior,” he added. “All of us should prepare to evacuate.”

Stone said residents still in at-risk areas should be prepared to leave their homes without any advance notice -- a warning prompted in part by the frantic door-to-door evacuation in Lake Country, B.C., on Saturday. Officials there said fire swept into the scenic Okanagan Valley community within the span of about half an hour, jumping highways and destroying hilltop homes.

Some observers are already predicting this year’s wildfires will be deemed the biggest in the province’s history.

With more wind and dry conditions in the forecast for many B.C. communities, the number of evacuees, and the amount resources needed are likely to rise. Here’s a look at the situation by the numbers, as of Sunday:

• Fires burning: 162
• Number of evacuees: 36,000 to 37,000
• Evacuation orders: 49
• Evacuation alerts: 23
• Hectares burned since April 1: 131,737
• Military personnel deployed: at least 150
• Military helicopters available: three Griffons, two Chinooks and one Sea King
• Firefighters deployed: 2,895, including 415 from out from other provinces
• Aircraft supporting ground crews: 203
• Households registered with Red Cross for assistance: 5,100
• Estimated cost to province: $81 million
• Size of largest fire burning: 423 square kilometres
• Evacuation centres: 11

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