The larger wildfires around the Burns Lake area are now 100 per cent contained are not expected to spread beyond their boundaries, but it could still take quite some time for these fires to be completely extinguished.
According to Carolyn Bartos, fire information officer for the Northwest Fire Centre, local residents can expect to see smouldering ground fires and smoke within the perimeters of existing wildfires over the coming weeks.
“This is common with large wildfires and may continue for some time,” she explained. “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.”
Bartos said it’s possible that these fires can hold over winter as they burn in subsurface fuels such as roots, peat and other decomposed organic matter, but are not expected to burn in surface fuels or within the trees.
“Throughout the fall and also in the spring of 2019, these fires will be continuously monitored and further suppression efforts may be taken if necessary,” she added.
The Shovel Lake Fire, located approximately six km north of Fraser Lake, has burned over 92,000 hectares. The Nadina Lake Fire, located approximately 40 km southwest of Burns Lake, has consumed over 86,000 hectares. And the Verdun Mountain Fire, located approximately nine km southwest of Grassy Plains, has burned over 47,000 hectares.
Firefighters continue to patrol for hotspots and monitor these areas.
Meanwhile a series of area restriction orders remain in effect for the Verdun Mountain, Island Lake, Cheslatta Lake, Nadina Lake, Hautete (Morrison Mainline), Gilmore Lake, Cheslaslie Arm and Torkelsen Lake wildfires. All of these fires are located within 100 km of Burns Lake.
According to the provincial government, these area restriction orders were implemented to protect public safety and to avoid interference with fire suppression efforts and wildfire rehabilitation work.
All evacuation orders on the Southside have been rescinded. However, evacuation alerts for the Nadina Lake and Verdun Mountain fires remain in place as of press time.
Campfires, as well as category two and category three open fires, are once again allowed throughout the Northwest Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.
The current B.C. wildfire season has broken the record as the number of hectares burned across the province has exceeded 2017’s total.
To report a fire, call 1-800-663-5555 or type *5555 from a cellphone.