Beaver to blame for fallen tree that caused phone, internet outages in northern B.C.

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A beaver was responsible for a felled tree that damaged several telephone poles and fibre cables, leading to service outages between Burns Lake and Terrace on June 7, 2022. (Diane Stinson - image credit)
A beaver was responsible for a felled tree that damaged several telephone poles and fibre cables, leading to service outages between Burns Lake and Terrace on June 7, 2022. (Diane Stinson - image credit)

B.C. Hydro says a beaver chewed through a tree that fell and damaged several telephone poles and fibre cables, causing intermittent internet, TV, home phone and wireless service outages in parts of northern B.C. on Tuesday.

Telus reported that wireless services were affected in Burns Lake, Topley, Terrace, Prince George, Kitimat, Smithers, Granisle and Hazelton. Outages were also reported in Prince Rupert.

The company said it worked with B.C. Hydro to repair the damage and restore service as soon as possible.

B.C. Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer said Thursday that after repairs were made, workers had a gnawing suspicion that a beaver had something to do with the felled tree, which went down close to Highway 16 between Houston and Topley, 14 kilometres east of Houston.

"They discovered the markings on the bottom of the tree, which indicated that it had been chewed through by a beaver," Heer said, adding there were no indications that the rodent had been harmed in any way.

Heer said systems are in place to try to prevent such brushes with nature, but they do happen from time to time.

"We do have a very vast system and we serve most of the province and that means we have lines and infrastructure that run through very remote areas, and at times wildlife can come into contact with our system," she said.

Heer said around 21 B.C. Hydro customers lost power, which was restored the same day.

In a separate incident, around 900 customers in Tumbler Ridge, B.C., lost internet service last year after a beaver chewed through a crucial fibre cable.

A Telus spokesperson at the time called the incident a "bizarre and uniquely Canadian turn of events."

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