District of Port Hardy Deputy Fire Chief Brent Borg took this photo of the Tsulquate Wildfire when firefighters first arrived on scene.

Fire now 95% contained

The Tsulquate River wildfire was 95% contained about a week after it was discovered

Firefighters and helicopters continued to fight the Tsulquate River fire during the week of July 6. The fire, discovered July 3 just outside of Port Hardy, caused residents on Upper Carnarvon and Mayor’s Way to be placed under an evacuation order that lasted from the evening of July 3 to the evening of July 5. Heavy helicopter and ground crews worked relentlessly on both the initial fire and a one-hectare spot fire caused by blowing embers through the first weekend of the fire. The consistently hot, dry and windy weather were a significant impediment for crews.

An Emergency Response Centre was set up at the Port Hardy Civic Centre, and some evacuated residents stayed in local accommodation while the evacuation order was in effect.

Throughout the week of July 6 firefighters and helicopters worked to contain the two fires, challenged by the old-growth coastal timber. By July 9 the main fire was 50 per cent contained and the spot fire 100 per cent contained. Crews were observing the area to watch for hot spots, with more than 40 firefighters still present. Mike McCulley, fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service, said July 9 that a key message to the public was to stay far away from the fire, as compromised trees, burnt root systems and dangerous limbs posed serious hazards.

By the evening of July 10, the main fire was 75 per cent contained and 16 hectares, while the spot fire remained 100 per cent contained. Crews were focusing much of their resources on the south and east flanks of the fire, and dangerous tree assessors and fallers were working on the west side of the power line. Crews were also using infrared scanners to identify hotspots. Throughout the weekend the first rain in weeks fell, and the cooler temperatures, calm winds and increased humidity helped firefighting efforts. By Sunday morning the fire was still 16 hectares in size, but 95 per cent contained, and 16 firefighters were present, working on the hotspots identified Saturday. The plan for Monday, July 13 was to use a helicopter to conduct another infrared scan to identify any hotspots deep in the ground, and re-assess each day going forward.

A team of fire cause investigators are in the Port Hardy area investigating what started the wildfire.

McCulley says that although they do not know the exact source of the fire, it clear that is was definitely human-caused. “Anytime it is not lightning it is human-caused,” he says, although he added that an investigation does not necessarily mean that answers will necessarily be forthcoming.  “Sometimes we never get an answer.”

As of July 10 there were 208 active fires burning throughout the province, and 951 wildfires have scorched 268,148 hectares over the season. There is a province-wide fire ban in place.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Check out a new future at career and education fair in Comox

Event today features booths from more than 40 employers and educational institutions

Book reading: The Blue Haired Girl

Adam Hayes will be at the Book Nook (inside Cafe Guido) Feb. 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Veteran Island journalist battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

Decor details: Professional rental and design businesses deliver it all

Stop by the Comox Community Centre on Jan. 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.!

North Island Bantam Eagles ice Clippers, clinch Tier 2 league banner

“We will enjoy the moment for now, but… it’s back to work on Tuesday”

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Most Read