The Narcosli Creek wildfire, where burn operations took place Aug. 11. (BC Wildfire Service photo)

North Baezaeko and Blackwater River Fires move south; Narcosli Creek Fire less active

Helicopters in the Baezaeko Complex have been grounded since yesterday morning

The North Baezaeko and Blackwater River Fires crossed guard lines and moved south yesterday, Aug. 23.

The North Baezaeko Fire, located south of Kluskoil Lake Park and about 85 kilometres west of Quesnel, remains listed at 6,663.3 hectares and zero per cent contained by the BC Wildfire Service.

Crews are concentrating on the southeast flank of the fire. They are working to complete a contingency line (guard) south of the wildfire, tying it from the area of the 2017 Plateau wildfire up to the Baezaeko River. Heavy equipment is working to widen the 6700 Road, which is located south of the fire, to the Blackwater River.

In a community meeting in Nazko on Wednesday, Aug. 22, Reg Trapp, the commander of the incident management team in charge of co-ordinating the response to the fires in the Baezaeko Complex, told attendees that if the fire were to cross the 6700 Road, they would be recommending the CRD extend the evacuation order already in place to include Nazko.

Crews will also check the structural protection assets on the structures closest to the eastern flank of the fire.

Yesterday, crews focused on smaller areas for all the wildfires within the Baezaeko Complex. This ensured the safety of the firefighters as they had limited visibility from the smoke.

There are 14 helicopters in the Baezaeko Complex; however, they were grounded yesterday due to lack of visibility, and remain grounded this morning.

The North Baezaeko Fire moved south and crossed the Baezaeko River moving towards the 6700 Road yesterday. To the north, it has also crossed the Blackwater River in the Kluskoil Lake Park. It is currently located east of Teepee Lake.

Overnight, it moved within 4.5 kilometres of the Nazko River, but remains south of the Blackwater River.

There are currently 53 firefighters and 18 pieces of heavy equipment (down from 20 pieces of equipment yesterday).

The Blackwater River Fire, located approximate 72 kilometres west of Quesnel and east of the Blackwater River, also crossed a guard yesterday.

READ MORE: North Baezaeko Fire grows, but cold front did little damage at Blackwater River

The fire is still listed as 6,127.7 hectares and zero per cent contained; however, the fire crossed the guard on its eastern flank yesterday, and also moved south. Crews will be working to catch these excursions today.

There are 42 firefighters (up from 33 yesterday) and 13 pieces of heavy equipment on site.

The Narcosli Creek Fire, located 31 kilometres south west of Quesnel, remains listed at 3,458.5 hectares. It is still 50 per cent contained and 90 per cent guarded.

The Narcosli Creek Fire was less active than usual yesterday; however, there was still some activity on the northern end of the fire. If conditions permit, there will be burn activities conducted on this fire, says the BCWS.

There are 79 firefighters and 29 pieces of heavy equipment on site.

The Shag Creek Fire, located west of Shag Creek and north of Itcha Ilgachuz Park, is still estimated at 10,200 hectares and being monitored by the air. A BC Wildfire Service reconnaissance flight determined that all “primary structures” near the fire are intact and some supplies were also delivered.

There are evacuation orders and alerts in place for each of these fires.

The Baezaeko Complex does not currently have any resources on the Shag Creek fire.

To the north of the Blackwater River and Baezaeko Complex, the Chutanli Lake Fire has grown from 14,696 hectares yesterday to an estimated 19,857 hectares today. It is located approximately two kilometres west of Batnuni and 23 kilometres west of Titetown. Structural protection units are currently working in Batnuni and Klunchatist Lake.

The fire is in the Prince George Fire Centre but has extended over the border into the Cariboo and evacuation alerts and orders are in effect throughout the area.

There are 84 firefighters (down from 86 yesterday) and 24 pieces of heavy equipment (down from 25 yesterday) on site.

Throughout the rest of the Quesnel Fire Zone, there are 10 active wildfires currently burning. One is being held, two are under control and seven fires are considered out of control.

The Yuzkli Lake Fire, south of Big Valley Creek, is still estimated at 100 hectares. Crews and heavy equipment will continue to build guard in accessible areas.

Another fire, west of Mustang Lakes, remains estimated at 123.5 hectares. There are eight ground personnel on site. Crews will continue to patrol and mop-up the fire where necessary.

READ MORE: 58 active wildfires, 6 wildfires-of-note in Cariboo Fire Centre Aug. 24

Correction: this article previously stated there were 79 helicopters on the Narcosli Creek Fire. It is actually 79 firefighters.



heather.norman@quesnelobserver.com

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