Telegraph Creek wildfires merge into one

Wind shift offers chance to secure southern flank of 28,000-hectare blaze

The two wildfires threatening Telegraph Creek have merged into a single 28,000-hectare blaze, but a shift in winds today may provide crews with a chance to secure the fire’s southern flank.

In recent days the Alkali Lake wildfire and South Stikine River wildfire to its east have expanded rapidly, creating their own weather systems pulling toward each other.

The wildfire centre anticipated the merger yesterday afternoon but maintained their priority to prevent further structural impacts within Telegraph Creek, following the loss of 27 structures Aug. 7.

READ MORE: 27 structures lost in ‘volatile’ wildfire

“The firefighters are certainly doing their best,” said fire information officer Heather Rice. “They’re a stoic bunch. Every time structures are lost it affects them as well as the homeowners. But they’re making good progress in Telegraph Creek and securing it —so there’s a win there.”

With the shift in the wind today, a cold front will cool temperatures but is also expected to increase the fire’s volatility, Rice added.

“When the cold front approaches it could possibly create a significant column of smoke. We want to make people aware of that —it shouldn’t endanger people’s lives, but if it does happen, will make the fire more active and visible.”

If the new conditions allow, crews will begin burn operations to secure the southern flank of the fire.

READ MORE: Heroes in the sky —fighting wildfires from the air

Fire crews are using heavy equipment to keep Hwy 51 clear, but when compromised, crews and heavy equipment operators are being flown to the fires.

READ MORE: B.C. shows overwhelming support for Telegraph Creek

In a press teleconference yesterday Doug Donaldson, B.C. minister of forests and Stikine MLA for the Telegraph Creek area, said the Alkali Lake wildfire is a top concern for the province.

Compared to 2017, the fire season is presenting exceptional challenges for the province due to major fires of note active every Fire Zone, currently amounting to 462 wildfires with 22 evacuation alerts and 17 evacuation orders in place. The 2,500 people affected by the Telegraph Creek fires is the largest impact in B.C.

Donaldson said he’s tried to visit the area to survey the damage and meet with people on the ground but was turned back twice due to heavy smoke.

Meanwhile BC Hydro’s electrical infrastructure has suffered significant damage due to the wildfire. Since Aug. 4 the power outage has affected 157 customers. BC Hydro wants to have the infrastructure back in place before the evacuation is lifted. A spokesperson said today crews are working closely with Emergency Management BC and BC Wildfire Service officials in the hopes of getting access today for repairs estimated to last two days.

“This will all be dependant on the fire situation at that time,” said the spokesperson. “Our priority is to restore the medical aid building and community water pumping station as soon as possible.”


 


quinn@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read