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Firefighters quell Terrace’s Old Skeena Bridge blaze, urge wildfire vigilance

The fire errupted on Terrace Mountain, near the Old Skeena Bridge crossing into Thornhill, on July 4
The fire on Terrace Mountain, near the Old Skeena Bridge crossing into Thornhill, on July 4. (Fifi Samantha/Facebook)

The Terrace Fire Department responded to and extinguished a wildfire on Terrace Mountain near the Old Skeena Bridge, which erupted at around 7:45 p.m. on July 4, according to fire chief Chad Cooper.

Speaking to The Terrace Standard, Cooper said crews encountered a 150-foot-by-150-foot blaze, deeply embedded within moss and fine fuels. Fifteen minutes later, crews requested BC Wildfire Service support.

“We were able to — with the assistance of BC Wildfire Service — create a fire guard around the fire and then extinguish it quickly,” Cooper said. BC Wildfire Service remained on scene on July 5 to monitor for any hotspots.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, BC Wildfire Service has suggested it might have been human-caused.

Cooper said this wildfire is unrelated to another bush fire that ignited across Hwy16 from Walmart, around the same period. “The two calls aren’t linked at this time,” he reassured. “I want to emphasize to the public that there’s no risk at this time.”

READ MORE: Drought, forecasted hot temperatures to raise wildfire risks in Terrace this summer

However, he warned residents to remain vigilant as the summer unfolds, given the extremely dry forest conditions. “The forest fuels — the fine fuels on the forest floor — are extremely dry, and as you dig down, it gets even drier,” Cooper explained.

He pointed out that this year’s dryness levels are typically experienced in August, indicating an early start to the wildfire season. Any rain that does fall doesn’t have much chance to soak into the fuels, he added.

Responding to whether this year’s conditions were normal, Cooper said, “It’s still within the normal, just a little bit drier this year.”

Crews are prepared for any eventualities. “Luckily, the winds are light, so if there was ignition, it allows crews to get in there and extinguish the fire faster,” Cooper explained.

Despite the high risk, campfires within city limits are still permitted. Cooper advised residents to use approved pits no larger than half a meter by half a meter wide and to burn clean, dry, seasoned wood. He also recommended having an extinguishing source handy — be it a garden hose, extinguisher, or a bucket of water — in case sparks start a secondary fire.

“We don’t want to be creating any sparks or heat sources,” Cooper warned. “And, if you do see smoke, phone 9-1-1 as soon as possible.”

Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.

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