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

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

Victoria police concerned about missing man’s well-being

Delmer was reported missing on March 19

Fracking, economy, climate at centre of Green Party town hall in Metchosin

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and local candidate David Merner take questions from community

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read