Canadian Underwriter

B.C. making “significant” progress on containing two long-burning wildfires

July 31, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is reporting that “significant progress” has been made on containing two wildfires in the province that have been burning for more than a month.

The Elaho wildfire was discovered in mid-June and now covers more than 12,500 hectares

BC Wildfire Service crews have taken advantage of reduced fire behaviour in recent days to contain the Elaho and Boulder Creek wildfires, the ministry reported on Thursday.

The Elaho wildfire, located about 67 kilometres west of Pemberton, is now 45% contained, the ministry said in a press release. The wildfire was discovered on June 14 and now covers about 12,523 hectares. “Despite the difficult terrain, crews continue to extinguish hot spots inside and along the fire’s perimeter, establish fuel-free zones and install sprinklers to reinforce existing control lines,” the release said. “Helicopter bucketing operations are supporting ground crews and working to extinguish less accessible hot spots.”

Related: B.C.’s Elaho wildfire caused by lightning, fire investigator determines

The Boulder Creek wildfire is now 55% contained. Discovered on June 30, the fire is burning about 23 kilometres northwest of Pemberton Meadows and covers 6,365 hectares. Firefighters working on this wildfire are also contending with challenging terrain, the release said, and firefighters continue to establish control lines to limit the wildfire’s spread, extinguish hot spots and mop up along the fire’s perimeter. Six helicopters are currently supporting ground crews on this fire.

Despite the recent decrease in fire behaviour on the Elaho and Boulder Creek fires, a warming trend has returned to the region, the ministry warned. Hot and dry conditions will result in higher fire danger ratings, increased fire behaviour and more smoke being visible in surrounding areas.

Related: “Extreme” wildfire near Pemberton, B.C. has grown to about 650 hectares

Over the next few days, if conditions allow, fire crews will be conducting controlled burns within the perimeter of the Boulder Creek wildfire to remove unburned fuels. This suppression tactic decreases the chance of the fire breaching established containment lines.

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