Vanderhoof — The Little Bobtail Lake fire started Saturday May 9 estimated at 2,500 hectares. As of Friday, May 15 the fire has grown to an estimated 13,000 hectares inching it’s way closer to people’s homes and buildings.
“It’s more than likely this fire will continue to grow, it has an aggressive fire behaviour and although we’ve been surprising it in a very aggressive fashion it’s still been very challenging to contain,” Melissa Klassen, fire information officer said.
The location of the fire is, as of Friday, within 500 metres of the southwestern shore of Norman Lake. Since it started, it has spread across parts of the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako and Regional District of Fraser Fort George forcing more than 80 people around the Norman Lake area to evacuate their homes.
As of the afternoon on Friday, May 15, eight helicopters, eight tankers and more than 200 personnel are helping to combat the flames that continue to spread.
Some helicopters have buckets able to hold hundreds of gallons of water while others are conducting reconnaissance, Klassen said.
“Some are moving equipment, pumps and crew personnel while others are giving flights to operations chiefs and commanders to assess where the fire is growing and how to best strategically fight it,” she said.
There are, as of Friday, a total of eight air tankers online assigned to the Little Bobtail Lake fire including six air tractor 802 fire bosses. These planes are amphibious and can dump retardant, foam as well as water. The other two are electra air tankers.
“These are bigger aircraft and dump fire retardant. In addition we have 190 fire fighting personnel and that not only includes fire fighters but pilots and air attack officers along with 30 support staff,” Klassen said.
When the air tankers are in the air there’s also a bird dog aircraft (smaller plane) that flys around and figures out what the flight path will be for the bigger tanker. They tell the pilots where to drop whatever their holding so it lands on the strategic area to best create containment lines,” Klassen said.
“We don’t usually see this kind of fire with this type of behaviour in this region util July or August. It kind of creates the assumption we will have a very busy fire season when we start seeing activity like this so early on,” Klassen said.
For the most up to date information on evacuation alerts and orders visit www.rdbn.bc.ca/ or www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/.
For the most up to date information on the fire visit BC Forest Fire Info Facebook page or bcwildfire.ca for information on location and growth.