Cooler weather brings hope for relief as Battleship Mountain wildfire continues to burn

·2 min read
Smokey skies from the Battleship Mountain wildfire in B.C.'s northeast on Sept. 14. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC - image credit)
Smokey skies from the Battleship Mountain wildfire in B.C.'s northeast on Sept. 14. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC - image credit)

More than 1,000 people from Hudson's Hope, B.C., are still out of their homes as the Battleship Mountain wildfire continues to burn out of control.

The wildfire is burning approximately eight kilometres from Hudson's Hope — about 520 kilometres north of Prince George — and four kilometres from the W.A.C. Bennett Dam.

The fire has grown to more than 290 square kilometres as of Thursday, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

But a cold front tracking across the province may bring rainfall to the Peace region — about 10 to 15 millimetres in the fire zone — says CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe, adding there will be cooler temperatures over the weekend.

B.C. Hydro is closely monitoring the fire burning just four kilometres from the dam. Since the evacuation order on Sept. 10, there has been a skeleton crew at the dam, they said.

The organization said it is also possible to operate the dam remotely, should it become necessary, and that their structures are made of concrete and not easily damaged by fire.

Nineteen oil and gas companies also have operations close to the wildfire.

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission says some wells closest to the fire have been shut and oil and gas companies are in close contact with wildfire officials.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says logging operations can continue in areas not impacted by evacuation orders and area restrictions

Firefighters from across B.C. offer help

Members from 22 fire departments across B.C. are in the area to help.

Among them is Bryant Kemble, chief of the Ferndale Tabor Volunteer Fire Department near Prince George, who fills water tanks to protect the town's police station, school and seniors' home from wildfire.

He said the 12-hour days can be exhausting.

"You don't think it is until you get back for the evening — then you find, holy god, this hurts and that hurts," he said.

Kemble says he's happy to help the community of Hudson's Hope, knowing that someday others might return the favour.

"I'm here helping these people with all the other crews that are here from all over the province and one day it's going to be my yard and I know somebody's going to come and help," he said.