Several Fires Have Merged
Prince George, B.C.- A number of fires burning north of highway 20, have merged into one major blaze which is now the largest fire burning in the province. It is now labelled the Plateau fire.
The Plateau fire is estimated to be 438,772 hectares. “Because of the size of it, and it covering such a huge area, it is being managed by two incident management teams says BC Wildfire Service Chief Information Officer, Kevin Skrepnek.
There are more than 500 firefighters, 24 helicopters and 115 pieces of heavy equipment battling this blaze. Skrepnek says the size of this fire does pose logistical challenges. “If you were to measure it end to end, it’s in the neighbourhood of 130 kilometers from one edge to the other.”
He says one of the challenges is the way the fire is burning, “Not in a neat tidy box by any stretch of the imagination, it’s got fingers and flanks and different aspects right across this area. So the logistical challenges for us surrounds, where do we house our firefighters so they are close to the fire as possible, but still in an area that is serviceable where we can set up a camp? How do we divide up the boundaries of the fire so we know who is dealing with what, and just the general movement of people whether its by road or by aircraft so that we can get our staff to the fire line as effectively as possible. That’s why we have set up in multiple locations around the fire, based on access routes in the area.”
137 fires are burning across the province right now, including 12 new fires which started yesterday. The estimated total of hectares burned is now 981 thousand.
Some fires did see some rain “Certainly welcome” says Skrepnek.but adds the rain has by no means reduced the risk.
While the weather has brought cooler temperatures, another cold front is expected to move into the province Wednesday and Thursday and that means another wind event in the region where rain has been scarce and fires continue to rage.