Photo: Crews are battling several large fires at the Tembec Pulp Mill near Chetwynd – Adam Reaburn/Energeticcity.ca
**Update – For an update on this story, click here
Fire crews are setting up for a long battle at the Tembec Pulp Mill near Chetwynd.
Late Wednesday afternoon the mill and several product piles caught fire. Crews from Fort St. John and Dawson Creek were immediately dispatched to the scene at around 5:20pm. Crews have successfully extinguished the fire in the mill, but fires continue to burn in chip and log piles.
Wednesday evening, on top of the crews from Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, the Chetwynd Fire Department was called in along with two helicopters and water bombers. Water bombers from the Ministry of Forests have made several drops on the area and more crews from the Ministry will be brought in tomorrow to help prevent the spread of the fire by using residential sprinkler kits.
Crews hope to slowly put the fires out by pulling apart the chip and log piles, but that process could take a long time. At the moment the cause of the massive fire is still unknown.
The City of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek are both under contract to provide emergency services to the Tembec Pulp Mill, which means Tembec will be paying for the cost of fighting the fire.
The contract between Fort St. John and Tembec started in 2004. Dawson Creek joined the contract in 2008. Earlier this year Fort St. John Council agreed with staff that they would renew the contract for another two years, but wanted to meet with Tembec to discuss alternative options.
The City is concerned that it will only be a matter of time before the Fire Department would be in a conflict situation where the contracted service would put residents and property at risk in Fort St. John. The City is currently working with Tembec to help the company find another service to help fight any fires.
Photo: This photo was submitted to Energeticcity.ca