A charred utility pole in the Cariboo. (BC Hydro)

EMBC to deliver satellite phones to wildfire-affected areas

Agency warns that regular communications could go down

A Cariboo communications tower, which provides landline telephones and internet, cellphone, and data services to a large area from Riske Creek to Bella Coola, has not been damaged by the flames.

The BC Hydro pole, which is shared by Telus, “has been at risk for some time,” said Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner. “I know BC Wildfire has been prioritizing suppression efforts to make sure it’s not damaged.”

RELATED: White Lake fire gives city a break, for now

Telus spokesperson Liz Sauve confirmed that the company has not lost any infrastructure due to the wildfires.

“In some areas where power was cut off, we were able to keep cell towers running on generator, and our crews would go in and refuel the generators when safe, generally accompanied by emergency response crews,” Sauve said. “In the Ashcroft-Cache Creek corridor, we had some lines burned, but were able to restore those as soon as it was safe and they are now back up and running in advance of evacuees returning home.”

VIDEO: Anaham residents find strength in fighting fires

If the Riske Creek utility pole was damaged, EMBC is prepared to offer alternate communication to the affected residents. The BC Wildfire Service is planning to drop off 5-6 satellite phones in First Nation communities along Hwy. 20 on Tuesday. Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District will also receive one satellite phone each.

But despite the province’s efforts to save the communications tower, Turner warned people to be prepared for the worst.

“People who are in that area need to be aware that they could lose this service,” he said. “That may include going to the bank machine to ensure you have cash, gas stations to make sure you have fuel but also let people let outside the area know that if this happens, they may not be able to reach you.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Researchers rely on drones to survey aftermath of B.C. wildfires

UBC researchers are using aerial drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in the province

Peaceful protest ‘Drumming out drugs’

Welfare day message outside banks to drug dealers and addicts

Mayors meet with B.C. Premier

Roundtable with John Horgan to discuss northern issues

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Girls provincial volleyball hosted at NVSS

Viqueens and locals treat visitors like royalty

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Most Read