While the Village of Burns Lake says rumours circulating about internet service going down in the region due to wildfires is not true, officials are keeping a close eye on one troublesome wildfire nearby.
Rumours have been circulating in the community, leading to panic buying and stockpiling gas and cash, after social media posts reportedly said internet would be going down in the region. It was alleged that the Tintagel wildfire near Burns Lake hit power lines.
Facebook posts from the village Friday afternoon (July 14) addressed two rumours that had been going around.
The first post, around 1:30 p.m., said there were no planned internet stoppages by Citywest or Telus and fire crews and favourable wind direction are keeping the fire away from the communication towers on Boer Mountain.
“There has been a significant miscommunication regarding internet service in the Lakes District. Stress and anxiety coupled with social media have created unnecessary panic and speculation regarding internet service.”
It adds that any posts on social media saying that power is going down at 2 p.m. is “NOT TRUE.”
The second post at 2 p.m. addressed the second rumour, nothing that BC Hydro has no plans to cut power to Burns Lake on Friday and that fire crews have kept the Tintegal fires away from the hydro lines.
The village did remind people that good emergency prepareness planning involves keeping cash on you and keeping your gas tank full.
The Tintagel fire is 8,514 hectares and burning out of control. First discovered on July 7, the Tintagel and Sheraton Creek fires merged.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach said in a Facebook post that he’s heard the rumours that “are flying about the possible loss of fibre optic connectivity in the northwest due to fires.” He said he just got off the phone with Citywest CEO where he was assured the risk to connectivity is not imminent, and that the company wasn’t shutting off its system proactively.
The only risk, he said, is if a burning tree were to fall on the line, but that the the line as a “decent tree-free buffer so the risk is thought to be manageable.”
“There is no need to stockpile gas or cash beyond what is normally reasonable. Please be considerate of your neighbours.”
Citywest provides communications services in the region and in a Facebook post Friday morning it says the company is actively monitoring the forest fire situation. It noted that customers had been asking for clarification on the situation.