Forest Firefighters hope to take advantage of cool wet weather

Facebook photos from Shepherd's Inn on the Alaska highway from May 5, 2016.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Wildfire Service hopes to take advantage of the cool wet weather before temperatures increase again in the B.C. Peace.

During a press conference Sunday, Emily Epp with the Wildfire Service said the Beatton Airport Road fire had received 3mm of precipitation and the Siphon Creek fire had received 8mm.  Epp went on to say “ while that precipitation is aiding our efforts, it didn’t suppress the fires. At this point with the forecast expected to return to warm and dry conditions, our goal is to take advantage of this reprieve in the weather and establish more control lines and get the mop up completed.”

The Beatton Airport Road fire is currently 15,000 hectares in size while the Siphon Creek fire is 41,000, with 12,000 hectares burning in Alberta.

The B.C. Wildfire Service wasn’t willing to confirm if any structures had been lost to the Beatton and Siphon Creek fires, but photos from the area confirm at least one a structure at Mile 73 was destroyed.

Firefighters from Alberta have now joined the fight against the Siphon Creek fire and will work to contain the fire on the Alberta side of the border.

A fire ban remains in place for all open burning including category 2 and 3 fires in the northeast.  You can still have a campfire.

Here is raw audio from the press conference with the B.C. Wildfire Service held on Sunday May 8, 2016 at 2 p.m.

Why haven’t camp fires been banned?

According to Epp, at this point and time most of the fires in this region have been caused by open burning and not campfires.  They will continue to monitor the situation to determine if a campfire ban is necessary.

There are currently 15 fire investigators working in the Prince George Fire Centre.  In a press release Saturday the Province said that 10 fires have been forwarded to the B.C. Conservation Service for arson investigations.  Officials wouldn’t name which fires are being investigated as arson.

Evacuation Alerts

Evacuation Alerts remain in place for the Beatton Airport Road and the Siphon Creek Fire.  The only evacuation alert that remains in place for the Beatton, covers the following area:

  • Blueberry River First Nation
  • Red Creek Road
  • 254 Road from the Alaska Highway east to the 281 Road
  • 289 Road, 287 Road, 285 Road, 283 Road and 281 Road all north from the 254 Road
  • 256 Road from 281 Road to Prespatou Road
  • North on the Prespatou Road from 256 Road south west along the Blueberry River, crossing the Beatton Airport Road, to the junction of the Aitken Creek Road, south along Aitken Creek Road to Alaska Highway
  • Following Red Creek south adjacent to the Alaska Highway to Red Creek Road including a portion of the Lower Cache Road
  • 260 Road off the Alaska Highway, and 260 Road west of the Prespatou Road
  • Beatton Airport Road to the Blueberry River
  • 272 Road of the Prespatou Road
  • 277 Road off 272 Road
  • 277 Road north off the 256 Road
  • 279 Road between the 262 Road and 264 Road
  • 264 Road, 260 Road, 258 Road all west of the Prespatou Road

One evacuation alert remains in place for residents of B.C. for the Siphon Creek fire and it covers the following area:

  • 256 Road between 221 Road and 211 Road
  • 221 Road just north of the 252 Road
  • 211 Road just north of the 252 Road
  • Alberta border from just north of the 252 Road, to approximately 40 km north along the Alberta border, then southwest to just north of the 256 Road, then south to just north of the 252 Road and then east to the Alberta border.

There is still an evacuation preparedness alert in place for parts of Clear Hills County in Alberta.  The alert covers the area north of Highway 64 and west of secondary Highway 726 in Clear Hills County.

The following map shows the areas under an evacuation alert in B.C.

This map shows the two remaining evacuation alerts in B.C. This map also shows the approximate location of the two fires.
This map shows the two remaining evacuation alerts in B.C. This map also shows the approximate location of the two fires.#to

Reception Centre Closing

All evacuees can now return home.  Approximately 216 civic address were evacuated near the Beatton Airport Road fire, with another 220 people evacuated from the Blueberry River First Nation.  Only 11 civic addresses were evacuated because of the Siphon Creek Fire.

The Reception Centre in Fort St. John helped over 500 people find temporary accommodations, a temporary home for their pets and any other basic needs during the two days they were away from their homes.

The Reception Centre will now close by 6 p.m. May 8, 2016.  All pets should be picked up at the Reception Centre by 6 p.m. The Peace River Regional District would like to remind people that as they return to their homes, crews are continuing their work. Equipment and crews will be moving within the region and they ask that everyone slow down on the roads. Please be aware that there is increased traffic in the area.

BC Wildfire asks that the public remain out of the area and only residents return; we would like to limit traffic in this area to assist crews in continuing their work.  

For more information regarding the Peace River Regional District Evacuation Orders and Alerts, please contact the PRRD EOC at 250-784-4838 or 250-784-3200.

For more info regarding the Blueberry River First Nations, please contact Cici Sterritt at 250-305-6077.

Got a picture or video you’d like to share from the fires in this region?  Email them to news@moosefm.ca

Here are just a few of the photos submitted to Energeticcity.ca