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UPDATE: BC's biggest wildfire now considered held

(UPDATE: Sept. 24 @ 1:30 pm) – The province’s largest wildfire of the 2022 season is now considered as being held.

The Battleship Mountain wildfire started about 50 kilometres west of Hudson’s Hope on Aug. 30.

It grew to nearly 32,000 hectares.

In early September, the wildfire risk prompted an evacuation order for the entire community and a declaration of a local state of emergency.

On Saturday, the BC Wildfire Service said the fire is not expected to grow.

“With the current resource assigned, sufficient suppression action has taken place the fire is not likely to spread beyond boundaries under current and forecasted conditions,” explains the BCWS.

On Sunday morning it will be removed from the agency’s wildfires of note page.

Crews will continue to patrol control lines, mo-up and extinguish hotspots and remove danger trees that have been damaged by the fire.

According to the BCWS, while this work is underway the Johnson forest service road near Hudson’s Hope will remain closed at highway 29.

Smoke will continue to be visible over the next few weeks which is typical of wildfires of this size.

As of Saturday, there are 96 firefighters, 10 pieces of heavy equipment, four danger trees assessors and two helicopters on site.


(UPDATE: Sept. 22 @ 1:56 pm) - The Incident Management Team working in the Prince George Fire Centre is seeing minimal activity in the Battleship Complex.

Over the past weeks, the BCWS team has been working on the largest fire in the province, Battleship Mountain which is an estimated 30,000 hectares along with smaller fires such as Bearhole Creek, Hasler Flats and Moberly River.

While the Battleship Mountain wildfire remains out of control just 50 km of Hudson’s Hope, the fire has not seen any sort of additional growth since Sept. 15.

Increased smoke is anticipated as a cold front approaching is bringing strong and gusty winds today, but should be sustained into the overnight period.

Mop-up continues on most perimeters of the fire and while work is underway the Jonson FSR is closed at Hwy 29.

As for the Bearhole Lake wildfire, the blaze got up to an estimated 6,500 hectares before being considered under control on Sept. 20.

The area restriction that was established around Bearhole Lake has also been rescinded as of this afternoon.

BCWS indicated that nearby communities can expect to see smoke and low-vigor flame within the fire’s perimeter for some time, likely until there is snowfall.

Members of the public and industry are reminded that the Bearhole Lake wildfire is still an active wildfire, and even though the blaze is considered under control, caution should be exercised at all times while traveling or working in the area.

At this time there are 23 wildfires larger than 0.01 hectares in the Prince George Fire Centre.


(UPDATE: Sept. 19 @ 11:27 am) - British Columbia’s largest fire continues to burn out of control just 8 km from the District of Hudson’s Hope.

While precipitation over the past two days has helped to cool fire activity, the Battleship Mountain wildfire remains at an estimated 30,242 hectares.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the fire continues to smoulder in heavier fuels as it continues to display Rank 1 behaviour but daytime heating and solar radiation could ramp up activity.

</who>Photo credit: BCWS

“On Monday, an upper ridge will begin to build over the province which will signal another stretch of dry weather,” said BCWS.

“However, under northwesterly flow, we may still see lingering showers in the morning, accompanied by below seasonal temperatures throughout the day.”

Though the imminent threat of wildfire is gone, and evacuation orders and alerts have since been rescinded BCWS indicates that other hazards may be present.

Including burnt trees with failing root systems, hydrophobic soil prone to erosion increased traffic on roadways and ongoing suppression activities.

</who>Photo credit: BCWS

At this time there are 115 firefighters on scene, two helicopters, 12 pieces of heavy equipment, six danger tree assessors and fallers along with additional resources supporting the management of this incident.

This afternoon, a unit crew is mopping up from Gaylard Creek along the Table Forest Service Road (FSR) to tie in with another unit crew who is mopping up from Williston Lake to the Table FSR.

In the Carbon Creek area, a unit crew is establishing anchor points and using the direct attack on the wildfire. They are also working to construct a helipad in the area.


(UPDATE: Sept. 18 @ 10:40 am) – British Columbia's largest wildfire continues to burn out of control, however, a downturn in weather could help reduce fire activity and allow crews to gain some control over the blaze.

On Sunday, the BC Wildfire Service stated that although rainfall has passed over the 30,000 hectare fire, cloudy skies and cooler temperatures are expected to continue.

“Though the precipitation received in the last two days has helped cool fire activity, the fire continues to smoulder in heavier fuels,” explained the agency.

“Surface fires displaying rank one fire behaviour are expected continually, with behaviour increasing with daytime heating and solar radiation.”

Rank one fire behaviour is classified as a smouldering ground fire with no open flame, white smoke and a slow rate of speed.

About two weeks ago, this wildfire was showing rank four fire behaviour which means there was an “organized” flame front, short aerial bursts of flame across the forest canopy, short-range spotting and a moderate to fast rate of speed.

Crews continue to mop hotspots along containment lines, directly attack the fire and complete machine guards.

Danger tree fallers have now joined the team and are working to remove hazardous trees along forest service roads.

Evacuation orders and alerts were issued for Hudson’s Hope, a community of about 850 people, earlier this month. They were removed this weekend and no structures were lost to this wildfire.

The BCWS reminds residents in the area that although the imminent threat of wildfire is gone, other hazards may be present such as burnt trees with failing root systems, eroded soil, increased traffic and ongoing suppression activities.


(UPDATE: Sept. 17 @ 1:40 pm) – All evacuation orders issued by the District of Hudson’s Hope and the Peace River Regional District have been rescinded.

The orders and alerts were issued due to the Battleship Mountain wildfire.

An evacuation alert for the southwest corner of Hudson’s Hope does remain in effect at this time, however.


(UPDATE: Sept. 17 @ 10:20 am) – One of the province’s last remaining wildfires of note has grown to over 30,000 hectares.

The Battleship Mountain, located in the Prince George Fire Centre, west of Hudson’s Hope is estimated at 30,242 hectares and continues to burn out of control.

The BC Wildfire Service says improved visibility and a planned ignition resulted in the larger estimate.

However, the agency is expecting showers, light winds and cooler temperatures in the area over the coming days.

“Since yesterday, most areas of the Battleship Mountain wildfire have received upwards of 10 mm of rain, some areas reporting nearly 20 mm,” says the BCWS in an update posted Saturday morning.

“Though the precipitation helps cool fire activity, the fire continues to smoulder in heavier fuels. Surface fires displaying rank one fire behaviour are expected today.”

<who> Photo Credit: BCWS </who> The Battleship Mountain wildfire has now surpassed 30,000 hectares, however, rain is expected to help reduce fire activity.

These weather conditions are expected to reduce activity across the fire, which was displaying aggressive behaviour for most of early September.

Crews are taking advantage of the cooler weather to finish up fire guards, contingency lines and mop up activities. Structure protection equipment is also being demobilized.

There are 105 firefighters, 27 structure protection personnel, 17 pieces of heavy equipment and seven helicopters on site.

Evacuation orders and alerts issued by the Peace River Regional District and District of Hudson’s Hope remain in effect at this time.

Meanwhile, the Bearhole Lake wildfire south of Tumbler Ridge has received significant amounts of rainfall which has reduced fire activity. This is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

As of Sunday, Sept. 17, the 6,472 hectare wildfire will no longer be on the fires of note page.

The area restriction for this fire has been updated and Highway 52 has been reopened to the public.


(UPDATE: Sept. 13 @ 11:30 am) – The Battleship Mountain wildfire in northern BC is now estimated at 28,756 hectares.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the east flank of the fire is about 4 km from the W.A.C Bennett Dam and 8 km from the District of Hudson’s Hope.

Structure protection crews from across the province are currently working in Hudson’s Hope to support the response to the BC’s largest fire of the season.

On average, there are 60 structure protection personnel from Kelowna, Fort St. John, Prince George, Salmon Arm, Peachland, Quesnel, Coquitlam, North Vancouver and another nine communities

“To date, we have W.C. Bennett dam protected on five zones, Beryl Prairie (northwest of Hudson’s Hope) has two zones that are protected and we have downtown Hudson’s Hope with critical infrastructure all protected,” explained Kevin Dalgarno, a structure protection specialist.

Over the weekend wildland firefighters completed several planned ignitions.

Andre Chalabi, service operations chief, said these burns are the crews “last line of defence in attempts to contain further fire growth to the east.”

“We’re expecting conditions to return to warm and dry as we saw a few days ago,” stated Chalabi.

“So, burning ahead of the fire onto our containment lines will allow us to have better success and provide us an opportunity to take an offensive approach.”

There are 17 firefighters working during the day, 16 during the night, 15 pieces of heavy equipment and 12 helicopters in the area with seven support staff and five danger tree fallers.

The incident management team and other senior BCWS officials have also been responding to the Bearhole Lake wildfire which has remained relatively stable.

The fire south of Tumbler Ridge is estimated at 6,531 hectares. This is a 218 increase since Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Warm and dry conditions over the weekend resulted in a slight increase in activity. However, crews continue to make progress on suppression activities.

There are 103 firefighters, 18 pieces of heavy equipment and 10 helicopters assigned to this fire.


(UPDATE: Sept. 12 @ 12:40 pm) – More growth has been observed on the Battleship Mountain wildfire, according to the latest update provided by the BC Wildfire service.

The out of control wildfire is now estimated at 28,000 hectares.

“The east flank of the fire is approximately 4 kilometres from the W.A.C Bennett Dam and 8 km from the District of Hudson’s Hope,” explains the agency.

Over the weekend, the District of Hudson’s Hope issued an evacuation order for all properties within its municipal boundaries.

The Peace River Regional District has also issued additional evacuation orders for properties around Hudson’s Hope.

Scott Rennick, incident commander for the Battleship Complex, says that the current weather and dry conditions are challenging crews and causing consistent aggressive fire behaviour.

“It’s been a tough couple of days on the incident,” said Rennick in an update on Facebook.

“We’ve been in a situation where we’ve been retreating on the defensive and that’s been due to the extreme fire behaviour.”

The lack of emergency egress on the back end of the fire has caused challenges and the route has continuously been compromised by the fire.

Rennick said that when fires get to this size and show this type of dangerous behaviour, crews are unable to do much other than back from the fire line to ensure their safety.

However, crews experienced a downturn in weather with less wind. This meant they had a window of opportunity to do planned ignitions on the eastern flank of the fire.

The planned ignitions were a success and “allowed crews to gain a defensive advantage by removing fuel between control lines and free burning edge of the wildfire to better reinforce containment lines for the coming days of expected aggressive fire behaviour.”

As of Monday, there are 60 firefighters one site throughout the day with another 21 that work a night shift.

They are supported by 70 structure protection personnel, 12 helicopters and 15 pieces of heavy equipment.

<who> Photo Credit: BCWS


(UPDATE: Sept. 11 @ 11:40 am) – A massive wildfire burning west of Hudson’s Hope has prompted an evacuation order for the entire municipality.

The order was issued last Saturday evening and applies to all properties within the municipal boundaries.

According to the district, the Battleship Mountain wildfire is causing an “immediate danger to life safety.”

In the latest update provided by the BC Wildfire Service, the Battleship Mountain wildfire has grown to an estimated 24,000 hectares.

This is an increase of nearly 6,560 hectares from the estimate provided Saturday.

BCWS deputy operations chief, Dan Houser, says that this fire has continuously shown aggressive behaviour which has challenged crew’s suppression efforts.

“It’s quite dry out there, it's quite challenging for the crews as well as heavy equipment,” explains Houser in a social media post from theBCWS.

“What we’ve been trying to do with the crews is more of an indirect attack approach, but it seems like every day those lines we create have been challenged.”

Houser says this fire is seeing “substantial growth” that is continuing into the evenings when fire activity is typically calmer.

Crews are focusing on slowing growth and spread on the flanks of the fire.

As of Sunday morning, there are 65 firefighters, 47 structure protection personnel and 16 pieces of heavy equipment on site.

There are 12 helicopters being shared throughout the Battleship Complex as well as seven danger tree assessor's and fallers.


(UPDATE: Sept. 10 @ 10:55 am) – The province’s largest wildfire of the season has grown to an estimated 17,410 hectares.

The Battleship Mountain wildfire, west of Hudon’s Hope, has been burning out of control since it was discovered on Aug. 30.

According to an update provided by the BC Wildfire Service Saturday morning, there are 73 firefighters, 49 structure protection personnel and 20 pieces of heavy equipment on site.

There are 12 helicopters being shared between a series of wildfires burning in the Battleship Complex.

Crews completed ignition operations on the south flank in an effort to slow the aggressive fire growth which has been driven by “extremely” dry conditions and wind.

<who> Photo Credit: BCWS </who> The Battleship Mountain wildfire has continuously shown aggressive behaviour, says the BC Wildfire Service.

“Temperatures are forecasted to increase into the weekend and there is no measurable amount of precipitation expected,” says the BCWS.

“Increased fire behaviour can be expected as temperatures increase.”

Personnel are also working with BC Hydro to protect the WAC Bennett Dam while others set up structure protection apparatus.

Evacuation orders and alerts from the District of Hudson’s Hope and the Peace River Regional District remain in effect.

<who> Photo Credit: BCWS </who> The Bearhole Lake wildfire, south of Tumbler Ridge, is now estimated at 6,313 hectares.

In an update provided Friday afternoon, the Bearhole Lake wildfire, south of Tumbler Ridge, is now estimated at 6,313 hectares.

The BCWS says this new size includes an area where planned ignitions took place earlier this week.

“Winds will likely be light-to-moderate once again. No precipitation is expected today,” says the agency.

“This weather pattern is expected to continue on Saturday with a possibility of cloudier, cooler and more humid conditions returning on Sunday.”

An evacuation order that was issued by the Peace River Regional District for Kelly Lake in early September has been replaced by an evacuation alert.

There are 92 firefighters, 23 pieces of heavy equipment, 23 structure protection personnel and seven helicopters on site.


(UPDATE: Sept. 7 @ 3:45 pm) – BC’s largest wildfire of the 2022 season is now estimated at 13,224 hectares.

This is up from the estimate of 11,949 hectares recorded over the past two days.

There are 48 firefighters and 17 structure protection personnel on site. There are 18 helicopters being shared between fires in the Battleship Complex.

Nineteen pieces of heavy equipment are being shared between this fire and the Hasler Flats fire.

Structure protection personnel are working to develop a response plan for theWAC Bennett Dam and are monitoring structure protection apparatus in the Carbon Lake area, which is just outside the fire’s perimeter.

Crews in the west are working to create fuel breaks by removing unburnt fuel between control lines and the edge of the fire which is located west of Hudson’s Hope.

Evacuation orders and alerts from the District of Hudon’s Hope and the regional district remain in effect.

Meanwhile, the Bearhole Lake wildfire south of Tumbler Ridge is now estimated at 6,037 hectares – an increase of nearly 200 hectares.

On Tuesday, crews completed a 400 hectare planned ignition to remove unburnt fuel from the fire’s path.

If conditions remain favourable on Wednesday a planned burn of 800 hectares will commence.

Structure protection remains set up in the nearby community of Kelly Lake while crews build a machine guard on the north flank to establish a parallel guard to tie into Hwy 52.

The highway remains closed at this time. An evacuation order from the Peace River Regional District for properties around Kelly Lake remains in place.

There are 92 firefighters, 39 structure protection personnel and 14 pieces of heavy equipment on site Wednesday.


(UPDATE: Sept. 6 @ 12:15 pm) – Conditions near the Battleship Mountain wildfire remain stable and the fire has not grown from the 11,949 hectare estimate.

However, the province’s largest wildfire, located west of Hudson’s Hope, remains classified as out of control.

Winds that were forecast for Monday did not challenged didn’t challenge crews as anticipated, says the BC Wildfire Service.

“There was minimal fire growth observed today. This gave crews an opportunity to make good progress on their objectives today,” says the agency.

Aggressive fire behaviour continues to be observed on the fire. On Tuesday, the forecast is calling for moderate wind with warm, dry conditions.

There are 48 firefighters, 15 pieces of heavy equipment, six structure protection personnel and four support staff on site.

Evacuation orders and alerts issued by the District of Hudon’s Hope and the Peace River Regional District remain in effect.

<who> Photo Credit: BCWS </who> The Battleship Mountain wildfire is the province's largest at nearly 12,000 hectares.

Moving further south, the Bearhole Lake wildfire near Tumbler Ridge is now estimated at 5,846 hectares.

On Monday, Highway 52 through Tumbler Ridge was closed. Crews are working to complete guard near the road, however, it is not known when the highway will reopen.

Structural protection assessment is ongoing in the community of Kelly Lake and an evacuation order for properties in the area remains in place.

There are 75 firefighters, 43 structure protection personnel, 13 pieces of heavy equipment and four structure protection specialists on site.

<who> Photo Credit: BCWS </who> The Bearhole Lake wildfire is located south of Tumbler Ridge.

The Dinosaur Lake wildfire, southwest of Hudson’s Hope, is now considered under control.

The lightning-caused fire was discovered on Aug. 31 and grew to about two hectares.

“Containment of this fire is progressing well and success is expected to continue over the coming days. As a result, this fire will no longer be considered a wildfire of note,” says BCWS.


(UPDATE: Sept. 5 @ 2 pm) – One of the province’s larger fires of the year, the Battleship Mountain wildfire, is now estimated at 11,949 hectares.

The fire is located about 50 kilometres west of Hudson’s Hope and is believed to have been caused by lightning.

The BC Wildfire Service said aggressive fire behaviour has been consistently observed on the fire and it has been showing rank four behaviour. This means it is moving at a moderate to fast rate of speed.

“Today, sustained westerly and southwest winds up to 30-35 km/h and gusts up to 60km/h are expected to significantly influence fire behaviour,” explained the agency in the latest update.

“Fire behaviour can pick up quickly with extreme winds and can result in very high rates of spread.”

Several evacuation orders and alerts issued by the District of Hudson’s Hope and the Peace River Regional District remain in effect.

There are 24 firefighters and a structure protection specialist on site Monday. Sixteen helicopters are being shared throughout the Battleship Complex.

The Bearhole Lake wildfire has also grown to an estimated 5,231 hectares.

This is more than double the estimate of 2,500 hectares provided on Saturday.

An evacuation order was issued by the Peace River Regional District and Hwy 52 through Tumbler Ridge is closed until further notice.

According to the BCWS, this fire has been subjected to heavy winds which has increased fire behaviour and activity.

There are 49 firefighters and three pieces of equipment on site.

Four other smaller fires in the Battleship complex remain stable and estimated at less than a hectare with the largest, the Dinosaur Lake wildfire, estimated at two hectares.


(Original story: Sept. 4 @ 10:40 am) – The BC Wildfire Service is responding to six wildfires north of Prince George, in what has been dubbed the “Battleship Complex.”

The largest of the fires is the Battleship Mountain wildfire which is located about 50 kilometres west of Hudson’s Hope.

It is estimated at 10,500 hectares and is believed to have been caused by lightning.

Unfortunately, this is an interface fire and the District of Hudson’s Hope declared a state of local emergency and issued evacuation orders and alerts on Saturday.

The Peace River Regional District also issued evacuation orders and alerts.

Crews working on this fire have continued to see aggressive fire behaviour that is driven by the wind and dry conditions.

The second largest wildfire of note in the PGFC is the Bearhole Lake fire which is about 30 km southeast of Tumbler Ridge.

It is estimated at 2,500 hectares and was also caused by lightning.

This fire is also showing aggressive behaviour and growth on the northeast flank is being driven by the wind.

Highway 52 through Tumbler Ridge is being heavily impacted by smoke and flagging personnel have been stationed along the road to help drivers navigate the area safely.

The BCWS implemented an area restriction order for the vicinity of this fire on Sept. 3.

Other fires in the “Battleship Complex” are significantly smaller than the two above.

The Dinosaur Lake fire, located about 14 km southeast of Hudson’s Hope, is estimated at three hectares but is highly visible from Hwy 29 and the community.

Other fires in the complex include the Moberly River, Crassier Creek and Hasler Flats wildfires, however, they all continue to be held or are small in size and not impacting structures or highways.

<who> Photo Credit: BCWS

Thumbnail photo credit: BCWS


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