A reminder sparked up close to home – close to several homes – that fire season is already here.
The weather is weeks ahead of schedule for wildfire risk. The Cariboo, Chilcotin and Thompson regions all got a frantic taste of that reality, over the April 28-30 weekend, and a Sunday afternoon blaze right in Quesnel was the signal flare for local residents that where there’s smoke from now on, there is immanent danger.
At 1:45 p.m. on April 30, a fire got going at 284 Scott Road. It was a classic interface fire – where the flames threaten a mix of forests and urban structures at the same time – that needed multiple fire departments to put down. Scott Road is an east-west laneway through the bush, but it is populated by more than a dozen houses, many shops and sheds, and it’s an offshoot of heavily used Quesnel-Hixon Road. The fire was only five minutes away from the Quesnel Airport, and many other fire-sensitive industrial amenities.
“It could have been so bad, had they not gotten it under control,” said one eyewitness.
Quesnel Fire Department was the primary response crew, with mutual aid from Barlow Creek Volunteer Fire Department and 10 Mile Lake Volunteer Fire Department with a BC Wildfire Service crew monitoring the situation, in case they were needed.
One neighbouring outbuilding was burned, and the fire also rolled across grassland and into trees, climbing high into some of the branches.
The collective firefighting effort was successful. By 3:10 p.m. the fire was in mopup stage, by 3:20 it was officially designated Under Control and by 3:40 it was finished. No injuries or significant values were effected, but the potential for major incident was present until closure.