B.C.'s Big Bar forest fire 20% contained
The Canadian Press
Posted: Aug 23, 2012 8:16 AM PT
Last Updated: Aug 23, 2012 9:32 PM PT
A 420 hectare forest fire near Clinton B.C. was 20 per cent contained by Thursday morning, fire officials say, following an aerial assault by six helicopters and more than 100 firefighters on the ground on Wednesday.
Big Bar, B.C.
The efforts to fight the Big Bar fire in B.C.'s tinder-dry southern Interior, allowed officials to downgrade an evacuation order affecting 200 people on Wednesday to an evacuation alert, which remained in effect as of Thursday morning.
But most of the people in the danger zone had never actually left. Fred Bressler lives in the evacuation alert zone and said he saw helicopters with buckets flying overhead, but he stayed in his home.
"I figured, you know, all those people on the fire scene would do their job to get the fire gone and I wouldn't go," said Bressler.
"I have an escape zone where I can go with my truck . . . We know we could go out the Big Bar Road, because it was completely safe to go that way."
Bressler said he hasn't heard much from his neighbours or those who live in areas more directly threatened by the flames because fire has taken out utilities.
"The power line that goes down to the Big Bar ferry is kaput," he said. "The fire burned six power lines, so there's no power going through there and the telephone doesn't work."
Concern about road access into the remote region was one of the reasons for the evacuation order, but an official with the regional district said only three families had left and registered at an evacuation centre in Clinton.
The wildfire grew to 400 hectares Wednesday from 100 hectares the day before, but by the end of the day, the weather was co-operating and the fire had not moved towards any structures or homes.
More than 100 fire fighters are assigned to the blaze and tankers and helicopters were dropping water and retardant in hopes of containing the fire further.
Emergency social service operations were "stood down," said Jason Tomlin, of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
"Everyone can go back home and conduct business as usual, of course keeping in mind they are on alert, so if things do change they will potentially have to leave at a moment's notice," said Tomlin.
Two homes destroyed
On Tuesday the flames burned through two homes in the area and about 200 residents including 40 guests of a resort had been ordered to get out.
Norm Dove, of the Echo Valley Ranch and Spa, said guests are still coming to the resort, about 15 kilometres from the fire.
He said despite how the situation appears, it's a clear day and there's no sign of a fire.
"It would be good if the media would tone it down," said Dove.
"We have friends and relatives that are more concerned about this than we are -- and we're here."
A local state of emergency was declared in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District as the blaze, believed to have been started by a house fire, threatened about 15 homes near Big Bar.
"It burned up to, and across, the Big Bar Road, creating a spot fire about five hectares in size on the west side of the road," said Fremlin.Fire information officer Kayla Pepper watches the smoke from the Big Bar wildfire about 40 kilometres west of Clinton, B.C. (Brady Strachan/CBC)
"Heavy equipment and personnel were able to construct some containment lines in the valley areas (Tuesday) night. There are, however, some steep slopes that have proved challenging to heavy machinery."
The fire is one of about 50 significant wildfire being tracked by the B.C. Forestry Service.
Send your pictures and video of wildfires in B.C. to email@example.com
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