The worst wildfire season in B.C.’s recorded history is still not over in the Burns Lake area.
As of press time, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako is still maintaining two evacuation alerts south of Burns Lake.
“At this time, there are still smokes within fire boundaries and immediately adjacent to property owners’ homes, farms and businesses,” explained Melany de Weerdt, the RDBN’s chief administrative officer. “While the risk is diminishing, the fires continue to pose a risk and are expected to continue burning for quite some time.”
“We intend to keep the alerts in place until they are no longer necessary,” she added.
One of these evacuation alerts is in effect from the intersection of Hewitt Road and Eakin Settlement Road to west of Ootsanee Lake; and south Takysie Lake and Uncha Lake to Cheslatta River and Cheslatta Lake.
The other evacuation alert is from West Francois Forest Service Road to Bickle Road West; and south from Tatalrose Road to the north shore of Ootsa Lake.
BC Wildfire Service urges caution
According to the BC Wildfire Service, ground layers and forest debris remain very dry in the region. Although category two and three fires are permitted in the Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC), fires can spread quickly if proper precautions are not taken.
The NWFC “strongly recommends” people wait until the region gets some precipitation before lighting a category two or three fire.
“Waiting for precipitation before lighting category two and three fires will reduce the chances of a fire escaping due to embers landing on combustible material nearby,” states the NWFC in a press release last week.
Anyone who lights a category two or three open fire must check local venting conditions prior to lighting a fire and ensure that conditions are favourable for burning.
If conditions are rated “poor” or “fair” in the area, open burning is restricted. Local venting conditions can be obtained by calling 1-888-281-2992 or visiting www.bcairquality.ca/readings/ventilation-index.html.
Major wildfires still burning in Burns Lake area
According to Carolyn Bartos, fire information officer for the Northwest Fire Centre, large wildfires in the Burns Lake area – Nadina Lake (86,767 hectares), Verdun Mountain (47,610 hectares), Island Lake (21,381) and Shovel Lake (92,412) – are still burning and are expected to burn into the winter months.
“They will be patrolled continuously throughout the fall and, if needed, fire suppression crews will be sent out,” she told Lakes District News.
“People can expect to see smouldering ground fires and smoke within the perimeters of existing wildfires over the coming weeks,” she added. “This is common with large wildfires and may continue for some time.”
If smoke is rising from well within a fire’s perimeter and the area is surrounded by black, burned material, this is typically not a concern; however, smoke rising from green, unburned fuel or from outside a fire’s perimeter should be reported immediately.
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.
BC Wildfire Service retrieving gear throughout Southside
The BC Wildfire Service has been retrieving gear –sprinklers, hoses and pumps– throughout the Southside.
However, according to Southside residents, not all residences have had their equipment removed.
Fire information officer Carolyn Bartos says that if gear has not been removed from a property, residents can call her at 250-847-6639 and she’ll arrange for a crew member to retrieve the equipment.