Photo: This is NOT a photo from the Williams Lake fire; this is actually a shot of a helicopter starting a prescribed burn on Robson a couple of years ago – but it’s a cool shot. – ed.
Here’s the latest update from the Cariboo Fire Centre. My sister Deb told me last night that the smoke is so thick that the streetlights are on at 7:30 pm and that it’s cold – the sun’s warming rays can’t penetrate the smoke.- Editor
Cariboo Fire Centre — August 19 2010
Fires of Note:
Wednesday afternoon the expected cold front passed through the Cariboo Fire Centre. Winds in the western part of the region were recorded at almost 70 kilometres per hour. In Williams Lake, winds were sustained at 30-40 kilometres per hour. These winds did cause extreme fire behaviour on all fires within the fire centre’s boundaries. Lightning was at the head of this cold front and caused four new fire starts within the last 24 hours. Today, aircraft will be patrolling the Cariboo, to look for any new fires. The good news is that our control lines are holding along the critical flanks. The safety of the first responders and the public is the Cariboo Fire Centre’s first priority. We urge people to continue to comply with all evacuation orders and alerts.
Multiple fires are burning within this area. Combined, they cover approximately 40,000 hectares, or 400 square kilometres. The fires moved to the west, and the eastern flank held well. There are no fires from the Meldrum Complex burning on the east side of the Fraser River. A helicopter did some infrared scanning at first light this morning to confirm this. Smoke is dense and will continue to be dense today.
The Bull Complex is now over 34,000 hectares in size. Fire 186 (northwest of Alexis Creek) grew to the east. Today, helicopters will be dropping water on the fire’s perimeter, cooling the edges and diminishing fire activity. Guards on fire 183 (4km east of Alexis Creek) held up against the strong winds yesterday. Pelican Complex ?Extreme fire behaviour was observed on both fire 205 (northeast of Pelican Lake) and fire 299 (south of Batnuni Lake). Fire 205 grew to over 26,500 hectares and fire 299 doubled in size, growing to 2,000 hectares. Crews are anticipating another challenging day today and smoke will continue to be an issue.
Heckman Pass Fire
The fire did show very aggressive fire behaviour yesterday afternoon. The fire grew to the Northeast, and is now 3,500 hectares. This afternoon, crews will be continuing to build and reinforce fire guards made by heavy machinery. Hwy 20 is now open on both sides of the Anahim Lake area.
The fire burning within the Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park is now over 4000 hectares. Strong winds pushed the fire to the northeast yesterday — away from the nearest community — Anahim Lake. This fire continues to be monitored by fire suppression specialists.
The Cariboo Fire Centre wants to stress that the number of fire fighters has not decreased and continues to be backfilled. Approximately 2000 personnel are actively involved in suppression efforts; three-quarters of which are from BC.