I went to the wildfire information meeting at Stelat’en Hall last night. Of course we were all hoping for good news about the two big fires affecting our area. But the only good news at all was that the monstrous Island Lake fire which has caused the evacuation order of Nithi Valley and Dahlgren Rd residents, was presently headed in a south-easternly direction. That meant the one extremity of the 7000 hectare fire, which is only 13 kms from the Village of Fraser Lake, is not going our way. At least not until the wind changes.
The Recreation Complex site is where nearly 200 fire fighters are battling the blazes raging in the district during their shifts and and then returning to sleep in tiny multi-colored dome tents. The soccer field looks as if gigantic mushrooms are sprouting up in an expanse of dry grass.
The hard surface of the arena has been designated to be used for evacuees from the fires continuing to burn in the Bulkley Nechako Regional District. These include the huge Shovel Lake fire which has kept Savory Road and Coreyville residents in a state of constant “Evacuation Alert” for several weeks. The fire is now 5700 hectares in size, with rapid fire growth, although presently in a northerly direction. The people residing in the Fraser Lake/Fort Fraser & Endako area are very much threatened by two of the largest and most active fires in the province!
At last night’s meeting there was discussion about why there are only 20 fire fighters deployed to fight the Island Lake Fire. Unexperienced workers cannot be hired despite recent training sessions. We were told that “Industry” has been very helpful in assisting and that there are 16 helicopters in constant use.
The Regional District has issued a State of Emergency but so far, despite the extreme danger to population, cattle, wildlife etc. the Province has not issued a similar State of Emergency declaration. There has been little or no mention of our dilemma on any of the media outlets, whether local or provincial. (Are we just “chopped liver” so to speak?)
Another problem is the smoke and fly ash in the air. Many of us have to stay indoors in this extremely unhealthy conditions. And, according to weather forecasters the hot, dry weather will continue on for perhaps 2 more weeks, with no rain predicted. Scarey!