Kitimat fire department handles some brush fires as campfire ban goes in to effect

The Kitimat Fire Department handled some small brush fires in recent weeks as temperatures remain high and the ground dry.

The Kitimat Fire Department has been contending with a couple of bush fires in the area, with one that has been rekindling itself over the past month.

Fire Chief Trent Bossence said a fire near the power lines by the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter, on the mountain, on Canada Day is likely an addition to another one that the fire department and the B.C. Forest Service have been containing for weeks now in the same area.

He said they suspect it’s a human caused fire due to its location.

Its remote location provides challenges to keeping it contained. He said the fire department loads water in to an off-road type brush fire vehicle and drive it up the hill close to the flames. It’s a very labour intensive process, he says.

“My guys spent all day [Canada Day] to about one in the morning,” he said. The work involves a lot of digging to expose any hot spots. “It’s a lot of manual labour is what it is.”

The forest service have also gone in with helicopters and dumped water in the area in an effort to douse the flames once and for all.

Meanwhile a brush fire closer to town had firefighters out on June 28 near Rosarios restaurant and the future Microtel hotel. In the hill behind the Kuldo extension Bossence said there was a small fire reported which was quickly contained by fire fighters as well.

These incidents came in the lead up to the July 2 open fire and campfire ban for the District and for the region as a whole.

The Northwest Fire Centre instituted the fire ban in our region effective July 2.

“We follow their lead…if they’re deeming it too dry in their areas I’m deeming it too dry in my area too,” said Bossence.

In all for the area, the Nadina Forest District, the Skeena Stikine Forest District, and the Coast Mountain Forest District are all under a campfire ban.

That’s effectively from just east of Burns Lake, north to beyond Stewart, and the coastal areas, but not Haida Gwaii.