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Three ‘wildfires of note’ burning in Prince George Fire Centre, hundreds across province

BC Liberals are calling for a state of emergency, as feds bring in supports
TentfireCreek-Fire Jul2021
Aerial photo of the Tentfire Creek wildfire (G71138) on July 2, 2021 with Fire G71134 west of Murray River visible in the distance.

Prince George Fire Centre is currently fighting three wildfires of note, as the province is dealing with nearly two hundred active wildfires.

The largest in the Prince George Fire Centre is the Chilako fire, discovered on July 1. It is burning at an estimated 1,471 hectares and was caused by lightning.

BC Wildfire Service says crews are engaged in indirect suppression efforts because of the changing fire behaviour. There are 55 firefighters, 4 helicopters, and 26 pieces of heavy equipment.

The second-largest is the Tentfire Creek fire near Murray Forest Service Road burning at approximately 715 hectares. It was also caused by lightning and discovered on July 1.

BC Wildfire Service says contingency guard has been completed. Crews and equipment are working to establish a fireguard on the west flank and one on the east flank of the fire and fire guards are connecting to Murray Forest Service Road to utilize existing road infrastructure.

Fire guards are expected to be completed Tuesday, and resources fighting this fire include three firefighters, two helicopters, and three pieces of heavy equipment.

The third wildfire of note is the Cutoff Creek Fire two kilometres north of Big Bend Arm.  Discovered on July 2, the fire was caused by lightning and is estimated at 886 hectares.

BC Wildfire Service says resources fighting this fire include 51 firefighters, four helicopters, and eight pieces of heavy equipment.

PGFC Wildfires July 5Wildfires of Note in the Prince George Fire Centre as of July 5, 2021. . By BC Wildfire Service

On Sunday, July 4, B.C. Wildfire Service's Cliff Chapman said 100 out-of-province personnel are due to arrive in B.C. to be deployed where they are needed, as the province battles nearly 200 wildfires.

The Canadian government is moving to stage more than 350 soldiers and tactical airlift capabilities out of Edmonton to support firefighters in B.C.

A forward operating base will house two Chinook medium-lift helicopters, one Hercules transport aircraft, and three Griffin utility helicopters already at a Canadian Forces base in the Alberta capital.

The aircraft will provide tactical airlift capabilities to move firefighters and equipment in and out of fires across B.C., while the soldiers will be made ready to support ground crews as necessary.

The BC Wildfire Service says there are roughly 3,000 firefighters battling blazes across the province, including fires that devastated the town of Lytton, nearly wiping it off the map and scattering its residents. 

The BC Liberals have also called for John Horgan and the NDP government to enact a provincial State of Emergency.

“We’ve seen how devastating and quickly these fires can move. It’s vital that B.C. is ready before more fires spark,” said MLA Mike Morris, the Opposition critic for public safety.

“A provincial State of Emergency provides certainty that resources will be available to those on the ground and in need. For the sake of all communities facing wildfires right now, John Horgan cannot delay this important call any longer.”

The province’s wildfire season began after B.C. experienced a record-breaking heatwave that saw temperature soar well above 40 C and overwhelmed many emergency services and contributed to the deaths of over 700 people.

Current information on wildfires in B.C. can be found on the BC Wildfire Dashboard and EmergencyInfoBC

— Prince George Citizen with files from Stefan Labbé, Glacier Media