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Fort St. John
Friday, November 16, 2018
Tel: 250-787-7100
Email: contact@energeticcity.ca
9924 101 ave Fort St. John, B.C.
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Heavy smoke near wildfires in Central Interior grounding firefighting aircraft

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Officials with the BC Wildfire Service say that while fire crews got some cooler temperatures over the past few days, the heavy smoke covering the province is causing complications for those battling the flames from the air.

Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds with the Prince George Fire Centre said that some of the helicopters and air tankers that have been employed against the wildfires burning in the Vanderhoof area have been forced to stay on the ground due to a lack of visibility.

She said that the thick, heavy smoke has reduced visibility to less than one nautical mile in places, meaning aerial firefighting aircraft can’t fly since they operate under visual flight rules.

Reynolds said that there are currently no wildfires of note burning in Northeast B.C., though there are currently 545 fires burning across the province.

She said that wildfire crews are continuing to fight several major wildfires that have caused residents of 2,400 properties to be forced from their homes and left thousands more on evacuation alert.

An interactive map of all current active fires burning in B.C. can be found here: https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=ef6f11c8c36b42c29e103f65dbcd7538

The following is the latest information on some of the major fires around the province:

Shovel Lake (R11498)

Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2018 at 12:01 PM

Location: approx. 6km north of the community of Fraser Lake
• See approximate location of this wildfire on an  interactive map
• View an interactive map of all active Wildfires of Note.

Discovered: Friday, July 27, 2018

Size: 84,793.7 hectares

Cause: Under Investigation

Resources
• 253 firefighters
• 8 helicopters
• 52 heavy equipment
In addition, 37 support personnel, 8 helicopters and 17 structural protection staff are shared amongst all fires comprising this complex and are utilized according to areas of highest risk � life and property being the number one priority.

Status: Active
The Shovel Lake fire remains active, and has currently been mapped at 84,793.7 hectares using high level infra-red scans.

Today on the south of the fire, ground crews are working to mop up sections of the fire on the southern perimeter where the successful burn-off occurred by Stern Lake several days ago, and will continue to push guard in on the southern flank of the fire along the PNG pipeline path.

The east side of the fire was active yesterday and crossed over the Settlement Road, moving through some heavy timber and into a field, moving under the burn scar from last year. Heavy equipment and crews worked to tie this back in to the perimeter yesterday and will continue with these efforts today as fire activity has continued in this area. Crews are conducting minor burn-off operations to fortify the containment lines on the southeast corner as operable conditions allow. The fire has not moved closer to Fort St. James on the east or north sides, and heavy equipment continues to build guard starting at the Sutherland FSR and links to Dog Creek Trail, with the containment line on the southern perimeter running north of the PNG pipeline and Stella Rd. This continuous guard veers northward to wrap up the eastern side of the fire, crossing Barlow FSR and extending northward utilizing the Bud Rd.

As visibility allowed, water skimming aircraft worked on the Hannay Road guard on the west and northwest sides of the fire to assist equipment and crews on the ground yesterday. Aircraft will be used today to support ground crews’ continued efforts if the smoky conditions allow, but the smoke is very thick over the fire this morning.

Structural firefighters and structural protection specialists continue to work on the Stella Road, Nadleh Whut�en, and Settlement Road areas to protect structures and ensure sprinkler systems are properly in place. Structural protection crews will demobilize equipment off of properties that are no longer at risk. Night crews were assigned to active sections of the fire last night to keep communities and structures safe.

While the BC Wildfire Service appreciates the support from the local communities, we are unable to accept or facilitate donations at the Fraser Lake fire camp. Instead, please consider donating to groups supporting wildfire evacuees in affected areas.

While the BC Wildfire Service appreciates the support from the local communities, we are unable to accept or facilitate donations at the Fraser Lake fire camp. Instead, please consider donating to groups supporting wildfire evacuees in affected areas.

 

Nadina Lake (R21721)

Last updated: Sunday, August 19, 2018 at 11:18 AM

Location: 63km southwest of Burns Lake
• See approximate location of this wildfire on an  interactive map
• View an interactive map of all active Wildfires of Note.

Discovered: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Size: 72,172.0 hectares (estimated)

Cause: Lightning

Resources
• 47 firefighters
• 66 heavy equipment
In addition,there are 352 persons assigned to this fire including: 17 helicopters, and 142 pieces of heavy equipment are shared amongst all fires that comprise the Babine complex and will be utilized according to areas of highest risk � life and property being the number one priority.
There are now a total of 25 fire trucks and tenders with 78 crew people from various parts of the province working on structural protection.

Status: Active
Crews will attempt to open up the Owen East Road and prepare for planned ignitions. On the west flank of Nadina Lake crews were challenged by a series of cutblocks. On the northeast, visibility is still challenging. Crews have defendable lines built on the northwest flank. A guard is being planned from Old Issac Trail to Moose Pit, keeping it on top of the ridge towards Verdun as a result of activity August 19, 2018.

Crews will continue to mop up any burned control lines, continue to bunch trees along roadways to remove any danger trees and establish guard. The planning and construction of contingency guard is ongoing.

A planned ignition near Owen lake is being planned for today: only if conditions are optimal

Alkali Lake (R91947)

Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2018 at 10:44 AM

Location: 5 km northwest of Telegragh Creek
• See approximate location of this wildfire on an  interactive map
• View an interactive map of all active Wildfires of Note.

Discovered: Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Size: 39,000.0 hectares (estimated)

Cause: Lightning

Resources
• 92 firefighters
• 11 helicopters
• 19 heavy equipment
A total of 125 personnel including a night shift are working on and in support of this fire. Today, 19 pieces of heavy equipment, including 4 water tenders, as well as 11 helicopters are supporting firefighting efforts. An Incident Management Team is stationed at Dease Lake. We are working closely with the Tahltan First Nation and several community members are engaged in fire suppression activities.

Status: Active
• 11% contained

Northerly winds during the afternoon will be light and smoke will again accumulate in the Telegraph Creek and Glenora areas. Fire behaviour will likely increase in the afternoon particularly where there is less smoke and the sun�s heat can penetrate.
Crews will again be checking structure protection, reinforcing guards and clearing danger trees. Crews and air support will continue work to minimize further impact to the communities of Telegraph Creek and Glenora. Tahltan First Nation staff and a number of contractors are working hard with heavy equipment to build and maintain guard. Structure protection specialists continue to install equipment on properties in the area and are relocating equipment from some areas where it is no longer required to new locations. Work has been completed on hand guard around properties on the south side of the Stikine opposite Telegraph Creek. Structural protection is in place in this area. BC Hydro crews have been working to clear up damaged line and replace poles. Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure have equipment in the area today to grade the road to ensure the safety of crews travelling into and out the fire ground.
An accurate line scan of the fire boundary is due to be undertaken.

Island Lake Wildfire (R11921)

Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2018 at 12:07 PM

Location: Adjacent to Island Lake, S of Francois Lake
• See approximate location of this wildfire on an  interactive map
• View an interactive map of all active Wildfires of Note.

Discovered: Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Size: 17,291.0 hectares

Cause: Lightning

Resources
• 64 firefighters
• 8 helicopters
• 11 heavy equipment
In addition, 45 support personnel, 8 helicopters and 17 Structural Protection Specialists are *shared* between the Shovel Lake Wildfire and Island Lake Wildfire. Air support and Structure Protection is utilized according to areas of highest risk.

Status: Active
The Island Lake fire remains active, but visibility is very poor over the fire. There was a 120 hectare excursion to the south of Anzus Lake running southeast towards Borel Lake, and crews are working to address this. No structural values are threatened. Crews continue to monitor for and extinguish any spot fires.

Ground crews and heavy equipment are continuing to work off the 238 Road to build a fuel free containment line. Hand ignitions were conducted yesterday evening to support the development of safety zones between Borel Lake and Anzus Lake.

Heavy equipment are working night shifts to build guard while fire activity is minimal. Today, crews will continue their work to tie the fire into the former Binta Fire burn scar from 2010. Crews are continuing to build guard on the southeast flank and the 238 Road and are monitoring for values in need of structural protection in the area and on the lakeshore.

The weather is anticipated to be warm and dry today, with winds alternating from the east and the north up to 15 km/hr.

While the BC Wildfire Service appreciates the support from the local communities, we are unable to accept or facilitate donations at the Fraser Lake fire camp. Instead please consider donating to groups supporting wildfire evacuees in affected areas.

Verdun Mountain (R11796)

Last updated: Sunday, August 19, 2018 at 11:18 AM

Location: 10 km southwest of Grassy Plains
• See approximate location of this wildfire on an  interactive map
• View an interactive map of all active Wildfires of Note.

Discovered: Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Size: 14,711.0 hectares (estimated)

Cause: Lightning

Resources
• 105 firefighters
• 37 heavy equipment
In addition,there are 352 persons assigned to this fire including: 17 helicopters, and 142 pieces of heavy equipment are shared amongst all fires that comprise the Babine complex and will be utilized according to areas of highest risk

Status: Active
The southeast flank is burning into an old burn scar. On the west flank, the fire is adjacent to the Keefe Landing Road but continues to hold there. Planning is in place to burn along this line as conditions allow to solidify the line.
Behind Takysie two heavy helicopters were used to bucket along a guard. On the southwest corner the fire is backing slowly down towards a guard along the south. Crews complted guard from Takysie Lake to Tatalaska Lake, then from the north end of Tatalaska to Francoise Lake.

Meachen Creek (N11886)

Last updated: Monday, August 20, 2018 at 9:49 AM

Location: Kianuko Provincial Park and Meachen Creek drainage, approx. 10 km southwest of St. Mary Lake
• See approximate location of this wildfire on an  interactive map
• View an interactive map of all active Wildfires of Note.

Discovered: Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Size: 6,996.0 hectares

Cause: Lightning

Resources
• 21 firefighters
• 3 helicopters
• 6 heavy equipment
A 22 person Incident Management Team from Ontario assumed command of this fire as of last night.

Status: Active
The safety of the residents of the St. Mary Valley and the safety of our crews remains the first priority for the BC Wildfire Service.

Yesterday retardant line was laid up the ridge along Meachen Creek. A planned ignition was then conducted from this retardant line to the northeast corner of the fire to tie into a predetermined boundary line. Activities were supported by a type 1 crew doing hand ignitions to solidify the area.

Today type 1 crews will be patrolling and wet lining the area along Meachen Creek to ensure there is no encroachment. Depending on visibility, another planned ignition with retardant line may be conducted to have the fire burn cleanly to a predetermined boundary line in Fiddler Creek.

Heavy equipment continues to work in the area east of the fire and south of St-Mary�s FSR as a contingency line if the fire were to encroach eastward.

Values protection equipment will be installed on all structures west of St-Mary�s Lake by noon today. The Structure Protection Unit will then be assessing the properties to the east of St-Mary�s Lake.

The IMT is waiting for better visibility to use helicopters to establish a new perimeter. Although the smoky conditions are limiting operations, the smoke is also moderating fire behaviour. The smoke is raising relative humidity and lowering temperatures, thus making the fire less active. The Incident Management Team is concerned that once these conditions dissipate, more extreme fire behaviour will once again be observed.

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