FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The BC Wildfire Service is continuing its battle against the largest wildfire currently burning in this province, which is located about 150 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John.
According to the latest update from the Wildfire Service, the Tommy Lake Fire is sitting at 16,954 hectares in size and is zero percent contained. An Incident Management Team has set up operations to spearhead efforts at battling the fire, which is currently burning in a northeasterly direction.
There are currently 90 firefighters, 7 helicopters, and 7 pieces of heavy equipment fighting the massive fire, and crews are primarily trying to establish machine guard and conduct controlled burning operations if conditions permit, in order to protect oil and gas infrastructure nearby.
Crews are continuing to work at contain fire growth to the north of the North Nig Road and are building a guard west of the Tommy Lake Road towards the Beatton River. Sprinklers will be installed on the bridge at the 56 kilometre mark of the Tommy Lakes Forest Service Road.
An area restriction remains in effect for the area surrounding the fire. The area restriction has been put in place to address public-safety concerns arising from the wildfire’s rate of spread and to avoid interference with fire control. The restriction will remain in place until noon on July 31st, or until the order is rescinded.
Under this order and Section 11(2) of the Wildfire Act, a person must not remain in or enter the Tommy Lakes wildfire restricted area without prior written authorization of an official, designated for the purposes of the Wildfire Act, unless the person enters the area under the following circumstances only:
- travelling to or from his or her principal residence that is not under an evacuation order;
- using a highway as defined in the Transportation Act;
- travelling to or from an industrial activity or business location;
- travelling through or entering the area as a person acting in an official capacity; or
- through or entering the area for an approved purpose of supporting wildfire suppression activities.
An evacuation order has also been issued by the Peace River Regional District due to the immediate danger posed by the fire.
The evacuation area starts at the junction of the Beatton Airport Road, Birch Road and Two Creeks Road, following north along the Beatton Airport Road and ending at the bridge on the Beatton River; then SE along the Beatton River stopping at Two Creeks road near the Beatton River; and SW along the Two Creeks Road returning to the junction of the Beatton Airport Road, Birch Road and Two Creeks Road. A reception centre for evacuees has been set up at the Pomeroy Sports Centre located at 9324 96 Street, Fort St. John.