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Cold and wet weather helps BCWS fight wildfires in the Cariboo fire centre

Sixteen wildfires are burning in the Cariboo fire centre
The Emerald Lake wildfire has grown to 596 hectares in size. (Photo BC Wildfire Services)

Cold and wet weather this weekend has assisted the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) in their fight against 16 active wildfires burning in the Cariboo region.

An evacuation order was issued by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) May 20 for a 3,813 hectares area of the Tzenzaicut Lake fire in the Quesnel region. Early Sunday, an evacuation alert was issued for an additional 87,426 hectares.

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) estimates the fire to be 116 hectares. The fire received rain during the day Sunday and into the evening. There are no visible smokes on the north edge of the wildfire and minimal smokes on other flanks.

“The objective for today is to patrol the northern edge and establish a 50 ft wet line in areas with spruce, a 25 ft wet line in regen and mop up and patrol areas within a cutblock to extinguish any hot spots that remain.”

The Pelican Lake Wildfire in the Chilcotin zone is the only fire of note in the region and is estimated to be 145 hectares in size. The fire has shown no growth since yesterday and will no longer be classified as a wildfire of note as of 8:00 p.m.

The BCWS said it is displaying Rank 1 fire behaviour or smouldering ground fire with no open flame. Firefighters, aircraft and heavy equipment have been on site supporting the incident.

An update received from BCWS fire information officer Jessica Mack said that “Crews successfully worked to establish a wet line on the east flank of the fire and continued to patrol the excursion from Thursday and along the western flank of the fire. Ground crews will continue to patrol and mop up the middle of the wildfire.”

The Cariboo Regional District and Ulkatcho First Nation have rescinded their Evacuation Alert for the area. For up-to-date information regarding these alerts and orders please visit their website.

The Dripping Creek fire in the Chilcotin zone continues to be classed as under control.

There are six active fires in the Central Cariboo zone with two ranked as under control and four burning out of control.

“The Prior Lake wildfire is located two kilometres northeast of Prior Lake and is estimated to be 2.3 hectares in size. Crews have been working on site actioning the fire and the status has been updated to under control,” said the BCWS.

There was a significant amount of rain received on this incident. Ground crews will continue to patrol and extinguish hot spots if they are found.

The Doreen Creek fire, located one kilometre northeast of Doreen Creek is estimated at 0.5 hectares. Ground crews have completed a fuel-free area around the fire and a 10-foot wet line. This wildfire is classified as under control.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Evacuation alert for Tzenzaicut Lake fire for 25 parcel near Quesnel

In addition to the Tzenzaicut Lake fire there are three additional fires burning in the Quesnel region.

The status of the Heyde Creek fire has been changed to being held after it received upwards of 10 millimetres of rain. Located one kilometre west of Heyde Creek the fire is estimated to be 72 hectares. “The focus for today (Monday) is to continue to wrap with guard and establish a 50 foot wet line.”

The Towkuh Creek fire is an estimated 70 hectares in size. “There was increased activity yesterday upslope however a significant amount of rain was received yesterday and into today,” said the BCWS. “There is minimal fire behaviour being seen on site today due to rain and cooler conditions. The priority for today is to get a fuel free on the east flank.”

Heavy equipment began establishing access to the Trout Creek fire Sunday and ground crews will work to get water onto the fire today. The fire is located 9 kilometres east of Trout Lake and is estimated to be 3 hectares in size.

There are three fires burning in the 100 Mile House zone. Two of these fires are burning out of control and are being supported by incident management teams.

The estimated size of the Emerald Lake fire is 596 hectares with the increased size being due to a new track, not increased fire activity.

Pockets of unburnt fuel are spread throughout the interior of the fire perimeter. Yesterday was the final evening for heavy equipment to be working throughout the night. Temperatures are cooler today with minimal fire activity being demonstrated.

A heavy machine guard has been completed on the north and east portions of the fire and ground crews will work off the guard to mop up and put out hot spots.

Ground crews will work south from Dog Creek along the west flank of the fire continuing to cut in hose trail for water delivery and to support direct attach along the fire’s edge.

The Eagle Lake fire is estimated to be 24 hectares in size and is burning in rocky terrain not easily accessible by heavy equipment.

Sunday morning skimmers worked on a small excursion on the south flank supporting ground crews. Suppression efforts were effective.

“Fire activity is minimal this morning. Yesterday, ground personnel continued to do danger tree assessments and falling. Hose trail was worked on the south and west flanks and a 10 foot wet line on the south flank,” said BCWS. “Crews will continue to assess danger trees and fall where necessary, extend hose trail and wet line further along the south and west flanks. The north flank of the fire is cold and there has been no growth on this portion of the fire over the last couple of days.”

A trough went through the Cariboo fire centre yesterday resulting in rain through most of the region. The eastern portions of the centre received between 5 to 20 millimetres of rain, reducing the fire behaviour of many fires. Cloudy skies and isolated showers will persist across the far east into the afternoon. Sunny and drier conditions are expected over the western positions of the centre. Tuesday is expected to be a cool and wet day east of the Fraser. The west will be cool, but rain is not expected.

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Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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