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American wildfires threaten B.C. resort parks

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  • American wildfires threaten B.C. resort parks

    American wildfires threaten B.C. resort parks

    Andy Ivens, CanWest News Service; Vancouver Province
    Published: Sunday, September 03, 2006
    VANCOUVER -- Two forest fires in Washington state are threatening to spread across the border into B.C., putting two interior resort parks Manning Park and Cathedral Park in peril.

    The 2,500-hectare Tatoosh fire just south of Manning Park, south of Hope, B.C., is growing daily and could cross the border today, said B.C. Fire Service spokesman Jeff Moore.

    The blaze was fanned by southeast winds overnight Friday, bringing it just 2.8 kilometres south of the border Saturday.

    Moore said the Americans can't spare any firefighters to fight the Tatoosh fire, but the B.C. fire management team has a plan in place to fight the blaze, which is burning in the Pasayten river drainage, immediately east of the eastern boundary of Manning Park.

    "We are planning and preparing for that fire," he said. "There's preliminary work being done now by the way of fire guards."

    The greatest concern surrounding the Tatoosh fire is that it could threaten the 180 recreational residences in the eastern vicinity of Manning Park.

    So far, no evacuation alerts have been issued although Moore says the residents have been made aware of the fire threat.

    Meanwhile, U.S. authorities are placing their efforts on the Tripod fire, five kilometres south of Cathedral Park, near Keremeos, B.C.

    The Tripod fire is currently the biggest forest fire in the U.S. burning at 60,800 hectares and is 54-per-cent contained.

    Moore said that fire was "looking quite good and the guard containments are holding."

    Moore added that other then recreational property in Manning Park, no towns are in the way the fires, just valuable wilderness areas.

    Manning Park is one of the most popular destination areas in B.C.

    Cathedral Park, near Keremeos, B.C., is under a fire advisory, meaning visitors should be prepared to evacuate the park on short notice.

    Forecasting forest fires is not an exact science, said Moore.

    "If the wind starts to blow, all bets are off," he said.

    Dr. Nelson Ames, a medical health officer the Interior Health Authority, said common sense should dictate the appropriate action for people who suffer from the smoky air conditions.

    "We have not seen a noticeable increase in people attending (hospitals)," said Ames.

    He said air quality near a forest fire can change dramatically, even hour-to-hour.

    "The main thing is to reduce exposure," he said.

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    Vancouver Province, with files from Lena Sin

    © CanWest News Service 2006
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Honorary Flatlander


  • #2
    U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

    U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

    Residents near border east of Manning Park told to prepare to leave
    View Larger Image

    This USDA Forest Service shows a fire burning in Washington State south of Keremeos, B.C.
    Photograph by : Steve Jennison, Central Washington Area Team/USDA Forest Service

    Jonathan Fowlie and Darah Hansen, Vancouver Sun
    Published: Monday, September 04, 2006
    A massive U.S. forest fire crossed into B.C. south of Princeton late Sunday afternoon allowing Canadian firefighters to begin work to manage the blaze, and leaving nearby residents to prepare for a possible evacuation.

    Provincial fire information officer Jeff Moore said the estimated 5,000-hectare blaze -- officially called the Tatoosh Complex fire -- crossed the border into Canada at about 5:30 p.m.

    "It is now in Canada and, of course, that means we have the ability to swing into full suppression," he said.

    Moore explained, however, that firefighters will have to concentrate on containment instead of launching a direct attack, as the blaze is too big and too hot to be fought directly.

    "This is a very ugly large fire burning in very dry very volatile fuel conditions," he said. "There will be a lot of looking for opportunities to burn off the fuel in front of the advancing fire."

    Even before the fire crossed the border Sunday, however, residents living in the community of East Gate were making preparations for a possible evacuation.

    A town of about 170 mainly-seasonal homes on the eastern perimeter of Manning Park, East Gate is about 20 kilometres north of where the fire crossed the border, Moore said.

    "We have an emergency evacuation plan in place, and we're working very closely with [the Ministry of] Forestry and regional district officials to give us the information should we have to move," said Bob Oldford, president of a volunteer fire protection service in East Gate.

    The Tatoosh fire has been burning south of the border since Aug. 22 after lightning struck the bone-dry Pasayten forest. Moore said a resource-strapped U.S. forestry service has left the fire to burn relatively unchecked, focussing its attention instead on a number of more significant forest fires.

    Moore said members of the B.C. Forest Service are now also helping to fight the Tripod Complex fire with flights into U.S. territory to drop fire retardant.

    Ignited by lightning on July 24, the 61,000-hectare Tripod fire is burning about six kilometers south of the B.C. border just west of Osoyoos.

    On Sunday night Moore said the lines on that fire are still holding

    Meanwhile in East Gate, Oldford said visibility is a growing problem in his community as the fire moves closer.

    "Right now it's very, very smokey with a bit of ash coming down," he said. "We expect the winds to increase in our direction and, so, we're expecting the situation to get worse ... the health condition isn't the greatest at this time."

    Oldford said residents are concerned about the proximity of the blaze, but are well prepared to evacuate if necessary.

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    © The Vancouver Sun 2006
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Honorary Flatlander



    • #3
      VANCOUVER (CP) - The expanding Tatoosh fire licking at the
      fringes of British Columbia's Manning Park covers about 21 square
      kilometres and is burning out of control, a provincial forest
      service spokesman said Tuesday.
      "We fully expect that size has increased today," said fire
      information officer Jeff Moore, adding smoke conditions still make
      estimating the size of the fire difficult. "It is zero per cent
      The current estimate of the fire that began Aug. 22 in
      Washington state and crossed the border came after overnight
      infrared photography provided by the U.S military.
      More accurate size estimates were expected late Tuesday as
      airborne fire behaviour specialists mapped the blaze.
      Meanwhile, the Tripod Complex fire in north-central Washington
      state, burning since July 24, has also been sending a steady stream
      of smoke and ash into Canada.
      It was 1.5 kilometres from the international border by Tuesday
      "It is inching its way closer so we are monitoring and planning
      for it hitting the border," said fire information officer Colette
      Dense smoke was still hampering efforts to battle the growing
      Tatoosh fire.
      Moore said some wind out of the north allowed greater visibility
      for fixed wing aircraft and helicopters with buckets to attack the
      blaze. But the drought-like conditions were complicating the
      "There are no adequate water supplies that can be fed directly
      to a retardant base location," Moore said. "The other limitation
      is the large aircraft - even though they're helicopters - need
      relatively large areas in which to operate.
      "It's not business as usual for us," he said. "The drought
      this summer has certainly affected water supply," though catch
      basins collecting snow melt and valley-bottom rivers can be used as
      water sources.
      Firefighters are trying to build guards around the fire and burn
      off fuel in front of the advancing blaze to allow air tankers and
      helicopters to support those efforts.
      The fire was not threatening residences but was on the
      southeastern border of Manning Park as of Tuesday morning, said
      He said an infrared flight overnight Monday detected a "spot
      fire" north of the Tatoosh fire that was 250 hectares in size.
      "This is just proof of what we've been indicating all along,
      that the smoke in that valley is hampering our visibility and
      ability to detect new fires," he said.
      The biggest issue is the safety of the personnel fighting the
      "Had we had people on the ground in front of that fire they may
      well have been stuck between two large fires."
      Most of the ground and air firefighters were assembled in
      Princeton waiting for an opportunity to battle the blaze.
      A number of back roads in the Pasayten wilderness area, which
      skirts the border, have been closed but no major highway routes
      have been affected.
      An emergency centre has been established in Princeton but no
      formal evacuation alerts have been issued.

      (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


      • #4
        Yesterday ...

        Fire crews retreat from Tatoosh blaze
        08/09/2006 11:53:13 PM


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        Dry conditions and high winds Friday forced the withdrawal of all crews fighting the aggressive Tatoosh blaze burning out of control near Manning Park in southern B.C.

        CBC News
        Jeff Moore, a fire information officer with the B.C. Forest Service, said it was unsafe for the firefighters.

        "Given the extreme fire behaviour warning we had midday, we extracted all personnel off the lines except for those folks still installing sprinkler systems," Moore said.

        While officials do not have an exact estimate of the size of the more than 20-square-kilometre blaze, it has grown in the past 24 hours.

        On Thursday, the fire was said to have expanded to cover 2,450 hectares at the southeastern end of the park.

        Residents of Eastgate, Pasayten River Valley and Manning Park were put on an evacuation alert on late Tuesday after the fire edged closer to the park, about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver.

        The fire began in Washington state in August and crossed the border last weekend.

        With files from Canadian Press

        Printer-friendly page
        September 11th - Never Forget

        I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

        Honorary Flatlander



        • #5
          Fire crews return to battle growing B.C. blaze
          09/09/2006 5:01:17 PM


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          Firefighters returned Saturday to the front lines of the growing Tatoosh forest fire in southern B.C. after being pulled out Friday because of high winds.

          CBC News
          A cold front overnight and rain on Saturday helped clear the smoke and allowed fire crews to get back on the job near Manning Park, said Jeff Moore, a fire information officer with the B.C. Forest Service. "It has allowed us to get firefighters and equipment operators with their equipment back on the fire line," Moore said.

          The blaze kept growing despite the damper weather, but Moore noted officials weren't able to map the exact estimate of the size of the more than 20-square-kilometre blaze because of clouds and smoke.

          Residents in Eastgate, the Pasayten valley and Manning Park remained on an evacuation alert Saturday as firefighters installed sprinklers and pumps around homes in the areas.

          Lightning strikes start 30 new fires

          The other massive fire, the Tripod Complex fire south of Osoyoos, was still about a kilometre away from the B.C. border and is now 60 per cent contained, fire information officer Colette Fauchon said.

          She said firefighters will continue to work on backup lines and dig hand guards, with helicopters dumping buckets of water on specific points if weather and air conditions permit. A smaller fire at Border Lake remained stable on Saturday, but the nearby Cathedral Lakes lodge remained under an evacuation alert.

          While crews tried to get a handle on the major fires, lightning strikes started 30 new blazes in British Columbia, Fauchon said.

          Printer-friendly page
          September 11th - Never Forget

          I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

          Honorary Flatlander



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