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Near record forest fire season

Sept 30, 2014, Victoria - An overheated forest fire season in British Columbia resulted in a near-record loss of timber - the third highest total since 1950 when the government started keeping track.

Chief provincial fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says 1,424 forest fires consumed more than 3,590 square kilometres of forest this season.

Skrepnek says an intense provincewide hot weather spell in July, where temperatures soared to 40 Celsius in some areas, contributed to extreme fire conditions that lasted much of the summer.

Skrepnek says cooler temperatures and rain showers this week are expected to signal the conclusion of the core fire season, although the largest fire this season near Burns Lake is still smoldering.

The top two B.C. fire seasons were recorded in 1958 when fires burned 8,590 square kilometres and in 1961 when 4,830 square kilometres of forest land was burned.

Skrepnek says the provincial government has spent $293 million fighting fires this year, but the budget allocated just $63 million to cover fire costs.