- Our Town
Help arrives from Ontario as B.C. forest fires spread
Forest fire crews arrived from Ontario to help Sunday, as lightning strikes and possibly human activity added to the fire map across a hot, dry B.C. Interior on the weekend.
A new fire at Soda Creek north of Williams Lake was reported in its early stages, allowing crews with 10 air tankers, three helicopters and heavy equipment to be deployed Sunday while it covered only 12 hectares.
The fire is close to Highway 97 and the cause was still under investigation Monday. To report a fire or smoke sighting, call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a mobile phone.
A new lightning-caused fire at Chelaslie Arm in a remote northwest region south of Smithers was at 5,000 hectares and threatening one building by Sunday, with 10 firefighters and two helicopters deployed.
The Chelaslie fire was causing visible smoke in Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof.
Efforts continued for a second week to contain the Red Deer Creek fire that has caused the evacuation of three oil and gas camps near Tumbler Ridge. It has 160 firefighters, 12 helicopters and 31 pieces of heavy equipment building fire breaks, with plans to set controlled burns to contain it as conditions permit.
Another fire only six kilometres east of Mackenzie was burning uphill in steep terrain and spreading east, with more help on the way as it reached 80 hectares in size.
In the northeast, a fire 50 kilometres west of Williston Lake reached 4,000 hectares by Sunday and was expected to grow significantly Monday.
Like many remote fires, the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch reported that this fire was receiving "modified response" to protect infrastructure and timber values, with many parts being monitored but not actively fought.