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

Alberni drag racers travel to Port McNeill for event on airport runway

More than 20 drag racers from the Alberni Valley travelled to Port… Continue reading

Watch the museum come to life with Our Town in Port Alberni

July 23 event takes place at Gyro Recreation Park

Learn the art of songwriting with musician John Pippus

Writing workshop, performance at Words on Fire highlight a trip to Alberni

Descend to the depths of diving history in Port Alberni

New exhibit opens at Maritime Discovery Centre

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Comox Valley military museum could be closed for a couple of months

HMCS Alberni site suffered water damage during a recent downpour

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read