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.

 

Just Posted

VIDEOS: North Island Bantam Eagles place second at Tier 3 Bantam Championships in Port Hardy

“This is now a piece of North Island history and will be talked about for many years to come.”

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tier 3 Bantam Championships

“The packed arena and electricity within was fantastic.”

Port Hardy RCMP issues warning about recent overdose

“Our primary concern is public safety. We are urging the public to be aware of what is circulating.”

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

Mueller finds no Trump collusion, leaves obstruction open

But while Mueller fully ruled out criminal collusion, he was more circumspect on presidential obstruction of justice

Vancouver Island shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

New Coast Guard ship crashes into breakwater in Victoria

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Ice climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall on Vancouver Island

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

Sparks fly as SUV speeds wrong way down Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

B.C. doctor fined $5,000 for accessing records of woman pregnant with his child

Doctor admits to accessing records of the woman carrying his child

Video service to compete with Netflix, Amazon expected from Apple on Monday

The iPhone has long been Apple’s marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline

Most Read