As predicted the Chezacut wildfire and Tautri Complex wildfire joined together during the weekend due to high winds.
“There was growth between the two fires,” fire information officer Colette Fauchon told the Tribune Monday from the Puntzi fire camp. “The Tzazati Mountain Park is in the middle of the two fires and the fires have come up to the park and essentially joined in the lower section.”
Wind and topography can play a part controlling fire movement, she explained.
“When you have wind and you have any kind of an area that can create a tunnel, like a gully or a ravine, that will certainly draw in the fire. We had winds from the west yesterday that blew part of the Chezacut fire east.”
While the Chezacut fire is an estimated 17,265 ha and the Tautri fire is 110,457 ha, Fauchon said she is still waiting for conclusive numbers on the size of both of them, which could take several days.
On Monday there are 30 firefighters, 17 pieces of heavy equipment and four helicopters on the Chezacut fire.
Crews will be doing some burning off in a few areas so the public may see some columns of smoke, but the purpose of the burn offs will be to make the fire more contained within itself.
Sprinkler units, drawing water from nearby marshes and small lakes, have successfully protected various cabins and homes in the Palmer and Alexis Lakes areas, Fauchon said.
“We have pretty good water sources for most places here and depending on the structure, the structural protection unit will determine what areas require in terms of a sprinkler system. Sometimes a sprinkler can be run up the side of houses and in other times they will just sprinkle a good sized area around the structure which creates a cooler climate and deters the fire.”
The area received very little rain on Saturday and Sunday.
“Oddly enough we had some at the camp where we don’t need it,” she said.
Arc Mountain wildfire
Located west of the Chezacut fire the Arc Mountain fire experience growth to the southeast during the weekend and is now an estimated 7,862 ha. Crews are concentrating on the southern area to put in more fire guards.
On Monday there are five firefighters, six pieces of heavy equipment and one helicopter actioning the fire.
Kleena Kleene wildfire
During the weekend the Kleena Kleene wildfire experienced growth and is an estimated 7,147 ha. Crews are building more fire guards, Fauchon said.
Located 52 kilometres east of Bella Coola, Fauchon said the Puntzi camp is now managing the Precipice fire as well.
As of Sunday it was estimated at 6,900 ha, with 46 firefighters, 10 helicopters, 12 pieces of heavy equipment and two structural protection units on scene, with an additional 13 single resources, four danger tree assessors and fallers and support staff.
“It experienced very little weather over the weekend so it was relatively inactive compared to the other fires in our area,” she said, noting the fire is located due west of Nimpo Lake.
Fauchon said it was 0C at the camp this morning and probably cooler on the fires.
This afternoon the winds will come from the northwest with a low possibility of showers predicted.
“We might get winds gusting from 10 to 15 kilometres an hour in the afternoon, but today we had good humidity recovery overnight and Tuesday the forecast is for the same. And our highs are forecasted for 18C which is also good.”
New fire camp
By Wednesday a new fire camp will be established at Nimpo Lake, probably at the old mill site, Fauchon confirmed, noting she will be moved from Puntzi to that location.