Wet weekend weather helps stifle Little Bobtail Lake fire
Saturday, May 23, 2015, 9:11 PM - A weekend of wet, cool weather has helped to hold containment levels of the Little Bobtail Lake Fire, but a risk of thunderstorms remains for B.C.'s Prince George area.
Crews have been battling the flames for more than two weeks.
The blaze has grown 25,000 hectares and is 80 per cent contained. About 80 people are still affected by evacuation orders.
It's not certain if storms will move directly over the fire but, if they do, a few scenarios could play out.
Rain could continue to fight the flames but heavy wind could be detrimental, causing the existing fire to spread.
Lightning strikes could spark additional fires as well.
On Friday, firefighters were making headway in the battle against the Little Bobtail Lake fire.
Weather has both helped and hindered the fight.
By Tuesday, improving weather conditions helped crews establish and reinforce control lines by burning off areas that could easily ignite.
Guards have been established on several areas of the fire and crews are conducting mop-up along 50 feet of the fire's perimeter, applying water to any remaining areas of open flame and digging up hot spots.
Thursday brought rank 3 fire behaviour, a vigorous surface blaze with a moderate rate of speed. The 'candling' phenomenon is common with rank 3, which is when a tree's fuels ignite and flare up, along the borderline and or within the fire.
Another productive day from fire crews, the Little Bobtail Lake fire is now 80% contained— My Prince George Now (@mypgnow) May 23, 2015
The RCMP have started a joint investigation alongside the Origin & Cause Investigators from Wildfire Management Branch as the fire is believed to be human caused. They are asking anyone with information about the fire to contact the Prince George RCMP or Crime Stoppers.
There are currently more than 330 people assigned to the fire, along with 12 helicopters and eight air tankers.
The safety of personnel working to battle the flames has been a concern as people evacuation orders are lifted and people return to the area.
"The Little Bobtail Lake fire is still an active wildfire and driving or using recreational vehicles in restricted or evacuated areas may endanger the lives of crews who rely on these roads for operational purposes and escape routes," reads Sunday afternoon's status report from B.C.'s wildfire management branch.
FIRE BAN ON THE PRAIRIES
Meanwhile, a combination of hot, dry and windy conditions have prompted officials to issued a fire ban for the city of Edmonton, Alta., "restricting the use of open burning, backyard fire pits, cook stoves in parks, and fireworks" in the area.
The fire danger rating for the city is in the "extreme" category.
The ban will remain in effect until further notice.
The wildfire hazard in the Slave Lake, Alta. area is in the "extreme" category as well.
"The conditions in the forest are very dry and under windy conditions a fire will spread very quickly. Use extreme caution and report wildfires immediately by calling 310-FIRE (3473)," reads a Thursday statement by government officials.
A fire ban was also enforced over the weekend in Saskatchewan. The province has seen more than 200 wildfires ignite this season.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly called it the Little Bobcat Lake fire. This version has been corrected.