The Shovel Lake wildfire burns on a mountain above Fraser Lake near Fort Fraser, B.C., on Thursday August 23, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Shovel Lake wildfire in northwest B.C. not expected to grow further

One of the province’s largest fires was hit with scattered showers overnight

The BC Wildfire Service says precipitation and favourable weather have allowed it to contain one of the province’s largest active wildfires, more than a month after it was initially discovered.

After growing to more than 900 square kilometres, the fire burning near Shovel Lake in northwestern B.C. was hit with scattered showers overnight, and Claire Allen of the BC Wildfire Service said any further growth is unlikely.

“We’re not under control yet, seeing as there is still a lot of internal activity and a lot of work for crews to do over the next few weeks here,” Allen said Sunday.

That work includes clearing up hotspots, perimeter patrols and assessing potentially-dangerous tree falls.

The nights in the northwest part of B.C. are becoming quite cool and dropping to near-freezing levels, which Allen said reduces their burning window considerably, though the turn of seasons does not necessarily mean the end of the wildfire season.

“The winds do tend to pick up in the fall so that’s something we’re watching quite closely,” she added.

READ MORE: Emergency response firm owner shares his side of Burns Lake wildfire decision

Apart from potential gusts, Sunday’s forecast in the area was favourable, with highs in the mid to upper teens and plenty of moisture in the air with a humidity index of nearly 40 per cent.

This comes after winds gusting up to 60 kilometres per hour hit the blaze on Friday, which did not push the fire past the established containment lines.

Allen said as the season ends, the importance of establishing containment lines ahead of a fire front is considerably lessened, and firefighters can change their tactics to match the lowered fire activity.

“Fire behaviour generally becomes reduced this time of year, so our crews are able to do a bit more direct attack,” she said from the fire centre in Prince George, B.C.

Allen said they have not seen as much torching in the area, where trees burn from the bottom up and resemble a torch, but noted that as autumn nears, deciduous trees will shed their leaves and create a different problem.

She said deciduous leaves tend to hold more moisture in the summer and can act as natural barrier for ground fires, but as the leaves dry and tumble from their branches, they can act as fuel for smouldering ground fires.

“We’ll be watching that in case it kicks up additional surface ground fires and have crews respond to that,” she said, adding she expected firefighters would have another few weeks left before that could become a problem.

Several evacuation alerts in the area were rescinded on Aug. 31, though further evacuation orders and alerts in the area will remain in effect.

On Sunday, an alert issued for 872 properties by the district of Fort St. James, a municipality due northeast of the wildfire, was fully rescinded.

Allen said there is no longer a threat to any structures near the Shovel Lake wildfire and Fort St. James, and that while the wildfire service could confirm the blaze was man-made, the exact cause of the fire was still under investigation by the Prince George Fire Centre.

An area restriction for public safety will remain in place for the wildfire near Shovel Lake until at least noon on Sept. 15.

Spencer Harwood, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Forestry Ink: Part 2 – History of 1950 Chinchaga firestorm

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about what was learned from the 1950 wildfire

Celebrating Filipino heritage in Quesnel

The Filipino Canadian Community of Quesnel hosted a Filipino Heritage Month Celebration on June 15

Quesnel’s OAPO celebrates 60 years

Columnist Ginnie Dunn Webb writes about the organization’s history

Quesnel Sealions start season strong

Many swimmers earned best times at Mackenzie meet

North Cariboo Christian School hopes to expand track and field meet

Five schools from Quesnel and Williams Lake took part this year

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Most Read