The back burn executed on the Blackwater River Fire on Wednesday Aug. 22. Submitted photo

UPDATED: Two Baezaeko Complex fires fully guarded, containment increasing

BCWS gets handle on Blackwater River, Narcosli Creek fires with some progress on North Baezaeko

UPDATED: The North Baezaeko Fire is now listed at 11,500 hectares, up from the 10,440 hectares. The fire was initially listed as 10,440 hectares on Saturday.

ORIGINAL:

The BC Wildfire Service is reporting that the Blackwater River Fire is now 100 per cent guarded and 60 per cent contained.

Containment is when there are no fuels available to burn between the guard and the fire perimeter,” explains the BCWS website.

From Friday to Saturday the Blackwater River Wildfire of Note increased in size from 6,128 hectares to 8,365 hectares, where it currently remains.

The fire received precipitation overnight, and crews expect to complete the contingency guard for 4 kilometres along the 51A road this afternoon, says BCWS. If conditions allow, crews will use hand ignition along the west flank moving south. Crews continue mop up excursions that occurred to the east and south.

Structure protection units will be maintained along the Nazko River, and the BCWS says the wildfire “looks good” on the west flank along the Nazko River.

There are 44 firefighters and 15 pieces of heavy equipment on the fire, along with 10 helicopters shared between the four Wildfires of Note in the Baezaeko Complex. The number of helicopters has reduced from 14 yesterday.

The Narcosli Creek Fire, which is the highest priority fire in the Baezaeko Complex, is 4,517 hectares, up from 3,459 hectares on Friday. The fire is now 100 per cent guarded, up from 90 per cent on Saturday, and 75 per cent contained, an increase of 25 per cent since Saturday. The fire also received rain overnight, says the BCWS.

Crews will be monitoring and patrolling this wildfire. They will continue with mop up the northwest excursion and in the south. They are mopping up the contingency guard from the southwest to the southeast, and the northeast corner.

Specialists are conducting danger tree assessments and falling prior to crews commencing mop up in other areas.

There are 73 firefighters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment on site.

All properties that were on evacuation order for the Narcosli Creek Fire have now been downgraded to alert by the Cariboo Regional District.

READ MORE: Narcosli Creek evacuation order downgraded to alert

The North Baezaeko Fire, located south of Kluskoil Lake Park and about 85 kilometres west of Quesnel, increased from 6,663 hectares on Friday to 10,440 hectares Saturday, where it currently remains.

However, crews have also made progress on the fire, with 40 per cent guarded and 15 per cent contained as of Monday morning (Aug. 27).

The containment comes after the North Baezaeko Fire crossed the Baezaeko River in the east. It is now located approximately 4 kilometres west of the Nazko Road. It continues to move through cut blocks and wildlife tree patches to the west. To the north, the fire perimeter is within the vicinity of Teepee Lake.

“Crews will continue to concentrate on the southeast flank. They will complete a contingency line (guard) south of this wildfire (66A road) tying into the 2017 Plateau wildfire up to the Baezaeko River,” says the BCWS website.

Heavy equipment will continue widening) the 6700 Road south of the wildfire to the Blackwater River.

If conditions allow, crews will burn off any remaining fuels along the 6700 Road. They will also work to complete the machine guard on the 6800 Road.

This wildfire received between two and five millimetres of precipitation yesterday and due to the precipitation, planned ignitions on this fire were not carried out, says the BCWS.

On the eastern flank, bucketing operations allowed crews to continue guard construction in this area. Structure Protection Specialists will install structure protection units on a cabin on Teepee Lake as well as maintain other units in the area.

There are currently 81 firefighters and 16 pieces of heavy equipment on the North Baezaeko Fire, which is the second largest in the Quesnel Fire Zone.

The largest fire in the zone, the Shag Creek Fire, is 12,322 hectares, increasing over the weekend from 10,200 hectares. It remains zero per cent contained with no resources on the ground.

BCWS says they have been able to complete a reconnaissance flight of this wildfire, and at last update all primary structures were intact. Some supplies were also delivered.

READ MORE: Evacuation order downgraded for 544 properties, from northern CRD border to Titetown

READ MORE: 10 evacuated properties in Kluskus area downgraded to alert

And north of the Blackwater River and Baezaeko Complex, the Chutanli Lake Fire, which started in the Prince George Fire Centre but has since entered the Cariboo, is still estimated at 19,857 hectares.

The BCWS website says a minor spot fire occurred in the area yesterday during gusty winds. Crews, with the assistance of aircraft and machinery, contained it and BCWS says it will monitor the area today.

Structural protection and crews are in Batnuni and Klunchatistl Lake, says the BCWS website.

BC Wildfire is working to reopen the Kluskus Forest Service Road as soon as possible. Notification will be given when the closure is lifted. The Martin Road and the Blue Road remain closed until assessed.

Crews are working to bring the guards east and west where possible. Containment along the south perimeter east on Blue 2500 continues.

The west flank of the Chutanli Lake Fire will be patrolled and mopped up Aug. 27, says BCWS.

“We continue to monitor fire activity around Brewster Lakes area to the 94 kilometres, and to monitor and evaluate values at risk.”

There are 70 firefighters on the ground with 25 pieces of heavy equipment.

The Baezaeko Complex fires are the only Wildfires of Note remaining in the Cariboo Fire Centre, after all other Fires of Note were downgraded due to containment progress.

Other fires in the Quesnel Fire Zone are the Yuzkli Lake Fire, northwest of Wells, which remains estimated at 100 hectares. Heavy equipment established guard in areas that were accessible, says the BCWS, and the fire is being closely monitored.

There are now just nine active wildfires in the Quesnel Fire Zone, with two in Being Held, one Under Control and seven Out of Control status.



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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