‘Extreme’ fire danger in Burns Lake

Nine wildfires started since Friday

Like most of the B.C. Interior, the Northwest Fire Centre had an eventful weekend due to wildfire activity.

A provincial state of emergency was declared last Friday. Within the boundaries of the Northwest Fire Centre, nine new wildfires started since July 7 and all of these fires were suspected to been caused by lightning.

As of Sunday, the B.C. Wildfire Service was responding to five new wildfires about 32 km northeast of Granisle and 125 km northwest of Fort St. James. Four of these wildfires covered less than one hectare each and all of them were suspected to be caused by lightning.

The largest of the five wildfires covered about 100 hectares and did not pose a threat to communities or structures. The fires were located west of Takla Lake, with some of them burning on the border between the Prince George Fire Centre and the Northwest Fire Centre.

The Northwest Fire Centre is supporting the Prince George Fire Centre’s response to these five wildfires, allowing the Prince George Fire Centre to concentrate its resources on wildfires where life and property may be at risk.

Smoke from these fires was visible from the west side of Babine Lake, including the community of Granisle.

As of Sunday, there were seven active wildfires in the Northwest Fire Centre, the largest of which covered seven hectares about 41 km south of Burns Lake, two km east of Takysie Lake. Thirty-one firefighters were working on this fire and crews have reported good progress over the weekend. There were no structures threatened by these fires.

Effective Monday, July 10, all open fires – including campfires – are be prohibited throughout the Northwest Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.

This prohibition will remain in effect until Oct. 21, 2017, or until the public is otherwise notified. Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has issued three evacuation alerts effective July 9. According to the RDBN, the alerts have been issued to advise of the potential evacuation of the area.

All persons within this area will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however, notice may be limited due to changing conditions. These alerts affect approximately about 85 residents. The evacuation notices are for these areas:

– The south end of Eulatazella Lake, west to Bobtail Forest Service Road, to five km east of Little Bobtail Lake and Naltesby Lake;

– The area east of the Sutherland Forest Service Road, to two km east of Hwy. 27, north of the Nechako River to Dog CreekTrail;

– The area south of Bobtail Connector Forest Service Road, from Long Lake Forest Service Road, to Tatuk Lake Forest Service Road, and south to the RDBN boundary.

For more information about the evacution alerts, contact the RDBN at 1-800-320-3339 or Emergency Management B.C. at 1-800-663-3456.