Cooler weather and rain showers across much of the province have resulted in a number of wildfire evacuation alerts and orders being downgraded or cancelled.
Changes to evacuation orders and alerts were made yesterday In the Cariboo regional district, in the Thompson-Nicola regional district and in the Bulkley-Nechako region.
But despite the cooler weather, hundreds of wildfires continue to burn, and provincial officials say two to four days of steady rain is needed to end the fire threat.
The Monashee Complex started at 27 fires, of which 12 are still active, in the drainages of Mabel and Sugar lakes from just south of Hwy 6 in the south to Three Valley Gap in the north.
The Monashee Complex has three Fires of Note: Mabel Creek, Sugar Mountain and Harris Creek. These fires are in full response sustained action.
The remainder of the fires burning in the Monashee Complex are either full response monitor-only fires or as full response – modified fires.
Priority fires are assessed and evaluated based on their potential threat first to lives and safety, second to property and third to values like critical infrastructure and industry interests.
Fire behavior prediction:
Probability of ignition is >90 for most fuels types on all fires during peak burning. Smoke likely to persist throughout the day. Continued drying even with the cooler temps and lower Rh. Potential for aggressive fire behaviour with stronger winds today. Highest potential where heavy ground fuels or pine and spruce are present.
There are 6 helicopters assigned to this entire complex and will be used interchangeably between wildfires, depending where they are needed. The use of helicopters today will depend on flying conditions and whether visibility, due to smoke.
This wildfire is now estimated at 700 hectares in size. This increase is due to an excursion that took place on the eastern flank. We have 109 personnel, 60 of which are from the Canadian Armed Forces and 9 pieces of heavy equipment on site today.
Heavy equipment will build guard on the west flank and ground crews will continue to establish hose lay on top of
the northeast and east flank. Canadian Armed Forces will focus on mop-up (extinguishing hot spots) and patrol. Heavy equipment will continue to work day and night shifts on this wildfire.
MABEL CREEK :
This wildfire is estimated at 1861 hectares in size. There is 1 BCWS employee that is on site today and accompanied by 7 pieces of heavy equipment. Heavy equipment will construct new guard on the west flank.
This wildfire is estimated at 394 hectares and will have 2 pieces of heavy equipment on site today. Heavy equipment will be working on guard.
This wildfire is currently estimated at 210 hectares in size and will have 48 personnel on site today that will be supported by 15 pieces of heavy equipment and air support.
Heavy equipment will complete contingency guard to the northeast flank and ground crew will mop-up (extinguish hot spots) and patrol the north flank. If conditions permit, we will burn out remaining fuel between the fire and the guard on the north flank. Heavy equipment will continue to work both the day and the night shift on this wildfire.
The Rec Site closures will be lifted for the Cottonwood Beach Rec Site, the Cascade Falls Rec Site and the Johnston Bay Rec Reserve which are off the Mabel Lake FSR, as well as the Sugar Creek Rec Site, which is off the Kate Creek FSR.
Napasis Creek Rec Site, Kate Lake Rec Site, and Sugar Mountain Lookout Rec Site will remain closed as they are within the Area Restriction.
There is an Area Restriction Order along the northeast side of Mabel Lake and a closure along the Mabel Lake FSR to all recreation traffic from Km 10 (north the Mabel Lake Provincial Park) to Km 59 (at the junction of Highway 1) and all recreation sites along that road.
There is an Area Restriction Order on northeast side of Sugar Lake, the Sugar Creek recreation site on the North-East corner of Sugar lake, and the Kate Creek FSR access road.
The Mabel Lake FSR and the Kate Creek FSR road closure restrictions are now lifted.
The exceptions to these Area Restrictions are those persons entering the area only in the course of:
(a) Travelling to or from his or her principle residence, that is not under an evacuation order;
(b) Travelling to or from private or leased property for the purposes of accessing a secondary residence
or recreational property, that is not under an evacuation order;
(c) Travelling as a person acting in an official capacity;
(d) Travelling for the purpose of supporting wildfire suppression activities; or,
(e) Engaging and/or participating in agricultural activities pertaining to livestock management on private
or leased pproperty.
The BC Wildfire Service will have burn operations take place on some wildfires within this complex, if conditions are deemed ideal.
When the decision is made to conduct these burning operations, the fire is usually beyond the initial attack stage.
Burning operations are always conducted with the goal of removing the majority of available fuels so that the fire has nothing left to burn.
Before planned ignitions can be carried out, environmental conditions such as weather,
terrain, fuel loading and potential fire behaviour are always considered.