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Battleship Mountain blaze being held, first time since Aug. 30

B.C. Wildfire Service to also drop "Wildfire of Note" designation Sunday morning

B.C.'s last Wildfire of Note, the Battleship Mountain blaze near Hudson's Hope, will be taken off the list Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

As of Saturday morning, and for the first time since being discovered August 30, it's classified as 'being held.'

“So, that means no additional growth is expected based on operations and suppression tactics that have occurred thus far,” said fire information officer Karley Desrosiers.

“The fire is currently estimated at 31,744 hectares and that's where it's expected to stay. What we are seeing is activity picking up in the afternoon or throughout the day when the winds are strong. The past couple of days, it's been pretty windy and continues to be hot and dry.”

Desrosiers said any fire activity is generally confined to cut blocks where fuels have dried out more quickly after the rain received last weekend.

“It has been smoky but, overall, despite the strong winds, no additional growth in the last couple of days and what we're seeing is the fire blowing back onto itself, not towards the perimeter.”

The south/southwesterly winds are aiding in the efforts of crews, by sending flames back into the already burned out sections of the 317-plus square kilometre wildfire.

On Friday, the estimated size of the blaze was at 30,242ha, however, Desrosiers confirmed, that an aerial survey hadn't been done in a couple of days – the new figure reflecting a more accurate capture of the fire's boundaries.

But, even as the fire is downgraded to 'being held' the concern remains of hazards.

With parts of this fire burning underground, it creates an unseen danger for crews, the integrity of the burnt trees and the roots underneath.

“This will continue to be an ongoing priority. We saw the risk of hazard increase dramatically with the winds we've seen and the drought conditions through the summer.”

Four danger tree assessors and fallers are part of a contingent of 96 firefighters and 10 pieces of heavy machinery committed to the blaze.

Desrosiers added the Johnson Creek forest service road, which remains closed this weekend at Highway 29, will be re-opened at the highway but shut off to traffic at the Gething Creek bridge about 40 kilometres in.

More restrictions could be lifted once crews believe that dangers have passed.

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