It may have been the worst wildfire season on record for British Columbia, but it wasn’t so bad here in Delta.
So far this year, there have been 27 smoldering fires and 11 brush fires in the municipality. (Brush fires include small trees, while smoldering fires include things like beach fires and grass fires.)
These fires were largely caused by electrical wires or proximity to house fires, explained assistant fire chief Brad Wilson.
Those numbers include fires that happened as a result of the July 5 townhouse blaze in Surrey, which sparked more than a dozen structure fires in North Delta as embers drifted across Scott Road.
The 38 brush and smoldering fires so far this year are actually a decrease from 2016 and 2017.
In 2017, there were 33 smoldering fires, seven brush fires, and one major tree fire over the entire year, for a total of 41 fires. In 2016, the same year of the Burns Bog blaze near 80th Street, there were 52 smoldering fires and six brush fires.
Although Delta’s small fires remain in the double digits, Surrey has seen nearly 10 times that number since May 1 in 2018.
According to the Surrey Fire Department, there were 334 brush and grass fires in that city between May 1 and Aug. 14.
This is an increase from 2017, when Surrey saw 256 fires during a similar time frame. At that time, Surrey’s assistant chief of fire prevention Jason Cairney said the majority of these were caused by discarded cigarettes.
Although the province has announced the worst may be over for the wildfire season this year, that is not necessarily the case for the municipalities.
“It’s still going to be dry right through the end of October, easily,” Wilson said. “Now is probably the driest time for us, so I anticipate the numbers aren’t going to go down.”
— with files from Amy Reid and Tom Zytaruk