The wildfire burns along the Kitimat River on Monday morning. (Photo BC Wildfire Service)

Too close for comfort

BC Wildfire Services reports two fires close to Kitimat

Two wildfires close to Kitimat are part of a number of wildfires in the Northwest started following lightning storms moving through the region.

Northwest Fire Centre fire information officer Carolyn Bartos said the first wildfire, reported by a motorist on Saturday, July 6 at about 4 p.m., started 23 kilometres north of Kitimat along Highway 37 close to the Kitimat River bridge.

“This fire was attended by an Initial Attack Crew consisting of four firefighters. It is under control and has received sufficient suppression action and no further spread of the fire is expected,” said Bartos on Monday afternoon.

The second wildfire – reported by a commercial airline pilot flying between Terrace and Vancouver on Monday, July 8, at about 7:30 a.m. – was reported to be half a hectare in size at the time.

“It’s very typical that pilots will call fires in to us,” said Bartos.

The fire started about 35km east of Kitimat, high up on the bank of the Kitimat River, on very steep, mountainous terrain.

Classified a “fly-in fire”, the fire was being tackled by two Initial Attack Crews of four members each, assisted by a helicopter dropping buckets of water onto the flames.

“Steep terrain poses challenges for the firefighters, including accessing the site. In this incident crews are hiking in due to the limited space for a helicopter to land,” said Bartos.

The fire, named R50896, was classified as Rank 2, a fire which burns in the surface fuel layer, excluding the crowns of trees.

“A Rank 2 fire has little or no spread. Suppression efforts include direct manual attack with hand tools and water if possible,” added Bartos.

Initially the weather played along, with a light breeze blowing, but torrential rainfall later in the day forced the fire crews to vacate the area.

“The rain most likely diminished the amount of fire activity, which was not a lot to begin with,” said Bartos.

The wildfire was still listed as active on Tuesday at the time of going to press.

READ MORE: Human cause suspected in North Hirsch wildfire

Since June 5, the BC Wildfire Service has responded to nine new fires suspected to be lightning-caused, most of them smaller than one hectare.

A third wildfire, further to the east along the Burnie River, was discovered on Sunday, July 2, also believed to be caused by lightning. BC Wildfire Service listed the fire as “being held” at the time of going to press.

Another wildfire – reported in remote terrain about 135 kilometres northwest of Dease Lake – covered about 250 hectares. BC Wildfire Service classified that wildfire as “out of control.”

The likelihood of wildfires starting as a result of the increase in lightning storms is further worsened by the dry conditions in the region and higher-than-normal temperatures. Currently the Skeena-Nass region is classified as very dry, making this the second year in a row the region has experienced hot, dry conditions.

“The BC Wildfire Service is conducting ongoing air and ground patrols to monitor the region for new wildfire starts,” said Bartos.

Visit our Facebook page

Follow us on Twitter

Typos? Email the editor!

 

The location of the wildfire.

Drought levels in 2018.

Drought levels in 2019 - still listed as Very Dry.

Just Posted

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

Kitimat fire department halts JFJV Labour Day weekend waste burning

Fire chief says tighter controls are now in place

Three people wanted on warrants

Terrace RCMP asking for public’s help

Belgian man linked as possible missing kayaker in Nass River

Family pleads on Facebook for more information

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

Most Read