FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Firefighters with the BC Wildfire Service are continuing the fight against four major wildfires burning north of Fort St. John.
Of the four large wildfires burning within the Peace River Regional District’s boundaries, crews are most concerned about a pair of fires burning in the Nig Creek area. Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that both the Beatton River Fire and the Tommy Lake Road fire have seen significant growth in the past two days. The Beatton River Fire has crossed its namesake river, and now sits at an estimated 1,800 hectares in size, while the Tommy Lake Road Fire has grown from 1,000 to 1,700 hectares in the past day.
Reynolds explained that both fires have seen significant growth since they were discovered on Tuesday due to the large quantity of dry fuel in the area. She said that there are currently 38 firefighters, four pieces of heavy equipment, and three helicopters battling both fires, which are less than five kilometres from each other.
Reynolds said that the plan is limit the fires’ growth on the west side of the Beatton River, and to build a fire guard along the fires’ southern flanks to restrict their ability to threaten properties to the south. However, she added that depending on wind conditions today, it is possible that the two fires could eventually merge.
Firefighters have also been getting a boost from the weather in battling two other large fires in the area. Reynolds said that the 1,700-hectare Kahta Creek Fire has not grown significantly in size since Wednesday, when the fire received over 10 millimetres of rain. A total of 54 firefighters and 2 helicopters are currently battling that fire, and have begun the process of building a fire guard.
The Milligan Hills Fire has also not seen much growth, and sits at between 700 and 815 hectares in size. The 60 firefighters, 1 helicopter, and five heavy machines have now contained 15 percent of that conflagration.
Reynolds said that the Wildfire Service is pleased that all four fires appear to have been started by lightning, and that there have been no human-caused wildfires in the past week. Despite this, the Service is urging campers to be extra careful with their campfires, especially in windy conditions.