07/27/2015 14:25 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Soggy weekend dampens ground, raises hopes, as firefighters battle wildfires

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Weekend rain has resulted in a dramatic improvement on the wildfire front across the province.

Fire information officer Ryan Turcot says 170 active wildfires are currently burning in B.C.

That's a significant drop from the high of 252 fires recorded last week as high temperatures and strong winds fanned flames in parts of the Okanagan and southern Interior.

Turcot says most of the 170 active fires were caused by lightning, while six new blazes were reported Sunday and today, with four of those sparked by lightning and two believed to be human-caused.

Nearly 3,000-square kilometres of woodland has been burned by 1,342 wildfires since the forest fire season began in April.

Total costs of fighting the fires is close to $152 million, well above B.C.'s initial firefighting budget of $60 million. (CHNL)


The Canadian Press