Stubborn fire continues in Vancouver bog

A fire in an environmentally sensitive peat bog near Vancouver continues to burn. A huge column of smoke has drifted over the city causing concern for people with respiratory problems.

Heavy smoke Tuesday hampered 80 firefighters and seven helicopters battling a fire in the Burns Bog, in Delta, a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. The fire generated a huge column of smoke that drifted over the greater Vancouver area causing concern for people with respiratory problems.

Delta fire chief Gordon Freeborn was confident crews working the ground would gain the upper hand. He hoped crews would have the fire in a "mopup position" in about two weeks.

The fire is now mapped at about 200 hectares. While the bog is uninhabited, the areas to the north, south and east are home to hundreds of thousands of people in several municipalities. However, no homes are threatened by the fire.

A health advisory was issued for people with breathing problems.

"There's a slight elevation of particulate in the air in areas west of the fire," said Ken Stubbs, with air quality monitoring for the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

"Those who are noticing some aggravation should contact their doctor or the health branch."

The Burns Bog is an environmentally sensitive wilderness area in Delta, a suburb of Vancouver.

"Burns Bog has long been considered the lungs of the Lower Mainland," explained B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner.

"It helps contribute to good air quality most of the time. So we're working very hard with the associated agencies to make sure the fire is put out" said Penner.

The bog caught fire in 1996 when it took two days to extinguish. That fire destroyed almost two square kilometres of the wetland.