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

Simon Keith undergoes second heart transplant

Former pro athlete turned transplant advocate gets another chance

Saanich homeowner scares off cougar taking down deer in Cadboro Bay

Conservation officer Peter Pauwels does not expect the animal to make future appearances

Man enters unlocked Saanich home with knife, sexually assaults 22-year-old

Investigation ongoing after woman sexually assaulted in Gordon Head early Sunday morning

VicPD help Esquimalt businesses avoid becoming victims of crime

Townhall meeting teaches businesses about safety and prevention

Shoreline Middle School students pitch in to clean school trail

Needles and bags of garbage picked up over six-week period on View Royal trail

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you consider living in a tiny home?

Victoria is the latest Capital Region community to take a look at… Continue reading

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

B.C. poverty plan combines existing spending, housing programs

Target is to lift 140,000 people out of poverty from 2016 level

Avalanche warning issued for all B.C. mountains

Warm weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

Temperature records dating back to 1947 broken in B.C.

The Squamish airport recorded the hottest temperature in the province (and Canada) on Sunday: 21.3 C

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires

Jody Wilson-Raybould has accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for SNC-Lavalin

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Most Read