After five months of fighting wildfires and battling smoke that choked B.C. residents throughout the spring and summer the BC Wildfire Service is on the verge of declaring the end of one of its busiest, most intense fire seasons, even though large fires continue to burn in the Prince George fire centre region.
Two fires that continue to burn out of control are close to Prince George. The Great Beaver Lake fire is about 64 kilometres northwest of the city, while the Tatuk Lake fire is about 73 km southwest.
The North Lucas Lake fire is in a remote area, 48 km south of Fraser Lake.
There are two other large fires in BC – Big Creek (91 km northwest of Mackenzie) and Gatcho Lake (140 km southwest of Vanderhoof).
BCWS unit crews and initial attack remain on the scene monitoring those fires.
“I would be near impossible to call (the bigger fires) out, just because of the sheer size, and we are expecting to see smoke or hot spots well inside the perimeter of the fire, so we’ll be working until basically well into the snowfall,” said Roldan-Delgado.
He said it’s unlikely this late in the season for those fires to erupt and cause the smoky conditions which caused air quality alerts and forced people to stay inside.
On Friday the PGFC rescinded the area restriction for the Donnie Creek wildfire that had been in place since that fire broke out in May. Area restrictions expired Saturday afternoon and will not be renewed for wildfires at Whitefish Lake (west of Fort St. James) and Big Creek (northwest of Mackenzie) and Bivouac Creek (southeast of Fort Nelson). The Big Creek evacuation order was downgraded to an evacuation alert.
In the Vanderhoof-Fort St. James fire zone, evacuation orders remain in effect for Tatuk Lake, Great Beaver Lake, North Lucas Lake and Ocock Lake, while two areas near Fort Nelson area are under evacuation alerts. Roldan-Delgado expects all of them will be downgraded later this week.
The campfire (Category 1) ban was lifted last Friday across the PG Fire Centre but Category 2 and 3 bans remain in effect.