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WATCH: Battleship wildfire now 28,765ha

BC Wildfire Service says fire now four kilometres from the W.A.C Bennett Dam and eight kilometres from Hudson’s Hope

Update, 3:45 p.m.:

The B.C. Wildfire Service said Monday afternoon that eastern flank the Battleship Mountain wildfire is within four kilometres from the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, and eight kilometres from the District of Hudson’s Hope.

The wildfire is now listed at 28,765 hectares in size after being sparked by lightning and discovered Aug. 30.

“The leading edge is from the ignition operations that occurred yesterday, which is located on a control line,” the wildfire service said in an update posted online.

“Crews and equipment will be working hard to achieve containment on the leading edge on the east flank.”

Meanwhile, the wildfire service says areas of the fire’s southern flank are “still displaying aggressive fire behaviour and is expected continued to over the coming days.”

BCWS incident commander Scott Rennick said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the containment lines crews had established on Sunday.

“The line held through the night. We did have night crews that were working on it, either doing some suppression work or doing some tidy work,” he said in a video update posted online.

“Moving ahead with these weather conditions we’re going to see for at least the next day, and these cooler evenings, which will really help us out, we are going on the offence.”

Rennick added that some sections of the fire’s edge have come into the Mount McAllister fire of 2014, which also prompted the evacuation of Hudson’s Hope that year. Rennick said the fire moving into that area is “still burning but not as intense.”


Update, 3:25 p.m.

The Battleship Mountain wildfire near Hudson’s Hope is now listed at an estimated 28,765 hectares.

Hudson’s Hope and surrounding rural areas were ordered to evacuated late Saturday night due to the rapid spread of the fire, which moved up to an extraordinary 10 kilometres in some areas that day.

BC Wildfire Service said Monday that ignition operations conducted on Sunday had been successful, allowing crews to better reinforce containment lines and “gain a defensive advantage by removing fuel between control lines and free burning edge of the wildfire.”

Sixty firefighters are working the fire during the day along with 64 structure protection personnel, according to the wildfire service. Another 21 firefighters and six structure protection personnel are working night operations.

According to Emergency Management B.C., 1,050 people were under evacuation order in B.C. as of Monday afternoon.

There were over 500 people registered with emergency support services in Fort St. John due to the Battleship wildfire, with 18 others registered with the District of Mission ESS due to the Flood Falls Trail wildfire.

Hudson’s Hope Mayor Dave Heiberg told Alaska Highway News the fire was watched “very closely” throughout the day Saturday before the evacuation was ordered.

“They’ve been watching this thing move around in various ways under various circumstances for some time. The last little bit, because of the dry circumstances and the wind directions, that southwest wind not being favourable at all, the fire’s been growing,” Heiberg said Sunday.

“They were very busy around supper time and into the evening last night getting that message out to folks so that they could get ready to get out of there,” he added of the evacuation orders.

“Fort St. John has been absolutely spectacular from what I’ve been experienced and seen in looking after people from Hudson’s Hope.”

In an update Sunday, the City of Fort St. John said enough hotel rooms had been secured for evacuees.

As of Monday, there were 34 actively burning wildfires in the Prince George Fire Centre, the largest being the Battleship Mountain blaze – the Bearhole Lake fire east of Tumbler Ridge, the next largest in size, has charred over 6300 hectares.

A third large fire in a remote area northwest of Hudson’s Hope, near Folded Hill Creek, grew to just over 1600 hectares by the end of the weekend, but was not considered a wildfire of note.

Province-wide, the number of fires burning was 191, but unlike years past, a large majority of them were lightning-caused. Of the almost 1500 recorded so far in B.C. this year, 1110 were linked to the weather.

Original story:

The Battleship Mountain wildfire near Hudson’s Hope has grown to 28,000 hectares and more aggressive fire behaviour is expected over the coming days.

BC Wildfire Service says ignition operations on Sunday were successful, allowing crews to better reinforce containment lines and “gain a defensive advantage by removing fuel between control lines and free burning edge of the wildfire.”

Sixty firefighters are working the fire during the day along with 64 structure protection personnel, according to the wildfire service. Another 21 firefighters and six structure protection personnel are working night operations.

Hudson’s Hope and surrounding rural areas remains under evacuation order.

According to Emergency Management B.C., there were 1,032 people impacted by the order as of Monday morning. There were 310 receiving ESS and accommodations in Fort St. John, according to EMBC.

Hudson's Hope Mayor Dave Heiberg told Alaska Highway News the fire was watched "very closely" throughout the day Saturday before the evacuation was ordered.

The wildfire advanced up to 10 kilometres in some areas under sustained 30-kilometre winds and low relative humidity, wildfire officials said.

"They’ve been watching this thing move around in various ways under various circumstances for some time. The last little bit, because of the dry circumstances and the wind directions, that southwest wind not being favourable at all, the fire’s been growing," Heiberg said Sunday. 

"They were very busy around supper time and into the evening last night getting that message out to folks so that they could get ready to get out of there," he added of the evacuation orders.

"Fort St. John has been absolutely spectacular from what I’ve been experienced and seen in looking after people from Hudson’s Hope."

In an update Sunday, the City of Fort St. John said enough hotel rooms had been secured for evacuees.

The ESS reception centre is open today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.for residents still needing to register.


[Eds. note - There were 1,032 people evacuated due to the Battleship Creek wildfire, not 1,046 as previously reported. Emergency Management B.C. says there are 1,046 evacuees across the province, including those from the Flood Falls Trail wildfire.]