Thursday, July 20, 2006

Alarm sounded on coalbed methane in BC

Merran Smith in the Smithers Interior News:
We are concerned that B.C.’s regulations for coal bed methane are inadequate. Unlike mines such as Blue Pearl, coalbed methane developments are not subject to environmental assessments. There is nothing to address cumulative impacts. And compliance and enforcement monitoring is largely conducted by the company itself, not the government.
Read the article

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wild Strawberries

Today I harvested our wild strawberries.

Yes, they are big. Thanks to Shadow, our previous dog, his squirrel chase-path flattened a piece of ground that the wild strawberries really took to. So this is one of Shadow's many legacies. I played my part by lightly weeding the patch once or twice a year and adding a little water when the land got very dry. Each year the patch expanded and the strawberries were always big - about twice the size of those in other parts of our land.

And, yes, they are delicious - the taste of summer in the Cariboo.
Next: the quickly-ripening raspberries.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Latest Chilcotin fire update from BC Forest Service

Ministry of Forests and Range, BC Forest Service, Cariboo Fire Centre:


Precipitation and cooler temperatures have helped to suppress fire activity and reduce the fire danger rating to low to moderate throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre. This weather pattern is expected to continue over the weekend, allowing fire crews continued success with the recent fires.

The fire near Wutlus Lake, 60 Km west of Quesnel, is held at just over 8500 hectares is 100% contained. Fire crews will continue working in the fire area to extinguish hot spots and rehabilitate areas affected by the fire. The California Interagency Incident Management Team (CIIMT) is handing over management of the fire to a British Columbian Incident Command Team this weekend. Rocky Opliger, Incident Commander of the CIIMT, would like to express his appreciation for the opportunity to take part in fire suppression efforts in British Columbia. A fire camp will remain in the area for the next week.

The fire camp located at Nazko is supporting crews working on the fires west of the area. The main fire is the Kluskoil Fire north of the Narcosli Ecological Reserve, which is held at 11,500 hectares. This fire isapproximately 25% contained with 90 km of guard constructed. A total of 280 firefighters, 60 fire personnel, 26pieces of heavy equipment and 6 helicopters are involved in suppression of these fires. Crews and equipmentcontinue to construct fire guards, action spot fires, mop-up and patrol the area. The Nazko fire camp is expected to remain well into August.

The Dean Fire near Tezla Lake north of Anahim Lake has been held at just over 11,000 hectares and is approximately 65% contained. There are 118 fire fighters, 64 fire personnel, 6 helicopters, and 11 pieces of heavy equipment. Fire crews continue to work on the fire guard, while infrared scanning is being used to search out hot spots to be extinguished.

A Transport Canada NOTAM restriction is still in effect, limiting aircraft flights over the fires areas. More information can found at Itcha Ilgatchuz Park is closed until further notice, and the Upper Dean remains closed to all traffic past the 60 km mark to allow unrestricted fire fighting activities.

The Cariboo Fire Centre would like to remind the public to re-evaluate their properties and Fire Smart them. Information on the Fire Smart program, along with fire information and updates can be found on the protectionwebsite at or call toll-free 1-888-3FOREST. If you see a wildfire, please report it to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks.

Contact Kim Steinbart Fire Information Officer. 250-989-2655

  • UPDATE - July 17, 2006: B.C. wildfire threat fizzles, for now.

    [Feb. 2006: Farwell Canyon bridge fire]

  • Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Cariboo Regional District on emergency plans and evacuation alerts

    Received today from the Cariboo Regional District:

    CRD Emergency Operations Centre in Full Gear

    The CRD’s Emergency Operations Plan was deployed for the first time as a result of the wildfires in the Chilcotin and the North Cariboo. The cities of Quesnel and Williams Lake have rallied to help in the relief efforts. Communications and Emergency Response support has been provided by the City of Quesnel while support staff from Williams Lake has volunteered to assist in the CRD’s Emergency Operations Centre.

    Today, the CRD rescinded the evacuation orders for Euchiniko and Nazko and replaced them with evacuation alerts. The existing evacuation order for Tezla Lake and Upper Dean, and the evacuation alerts for Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake remain in effect and unchanged. For up to date fire information, please contact the Cariboo Fire Centre at 250-989-2600. For more information regarding evacuations, please contact the Cariboo Regional District at 250-392-4283.

    Saturday, July 08, 2006

    Nazko (Chilcotin) fire update

    From the Globe & Mail:

    Nazko evacuation order provisionally lifted

    An evacuation order was lifted yesterday for residents who were forced to run from a forest fire in the Nazko area, west of Quesnel.

    The order was downgraded because of lower temperatures and torrential rain, which put a damper on many fires in the southern Interior.

    The B.C. Forest Service warned, however, that the rain wasn't enough to soak the fuel on forest floors, and another few days of sun could reverse the situation. CP

    "Forest fire situation in Anahim Lake is improving"

    The forest fire situation in Anahim Lake is improving, says acting Ulkatcho band manager John McCarvill.
    "We've got cooler temperatures and the fire isn't burning as it was."

    On Wednesday, July 5, McCarvill said the 10,000-hectare fire 15 kilometres north of Anahim Lake, was moving towards the community at the rate of one kilometre an hour.

    Read on

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Update from someone living near the Anahim Lake fires

    The fires here are looking pretty good at the moment, as of yesterday afternoon anyhow. It was quite windy, but apparently it was driving the fire up into the alpine, rather than down into more timber. It also switched back onto itself a bit, which is a really great turn. Cats are working on a fire guard right in front of it, and that seems to be working as well. There wasn't the amazingly huge column of smoke yesterday afternoon that we have had previously, so that is encouraging.

    Rumour has it that, if operations continue as they are (without any more challenges from Mother Nature), we should be able to feel fairly safe by tonight. The smoke has cleared quite a bit and that we are now able to see the mountains through the haze. The weather has turned relatively cool, and it looks though it may rain. Hopefully not thunder storms!

    A fire camp has been set up again at the Anahim Lake Airport, and a Type One Crew from Ontario has taken over. The major concern is simply lack of resources. There are so many fires in BC that crews and equipment is getting spread pretty darn thin.

    There have been several pieces of big equipment burned, as well as at least one truck, a four-wheeler, and some trailers, but as far as I know, no major structure has been destroyed. And, most importantly, no-one has been seriously hurt.

    This is of course, not written in stone by any means, just the basics of what I have been told. And, despite what I hear the media is saying, we were never evacuated, just put on a two hour alert.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Chilcotin fire evacuations north of Anahim Lake

    Fire evacuations ordered in the Cariboo-Chilcotin
    July 5, 2006
    About 2,000 people living in remote communities in B.C.'s Cariboo-Chilcotin region have been forced from their homes by the threat of two massive wildfires.
    Full story

    BC Forest Service: Cariboo fire update

    For current updates:
    Active Cariboo firesActive Cariboo fires

    A friend sent me this from the BC Forest Service:

    For Immediate Release
    July 4th, 2006

    Ministry of Forests and Range
    BC Forest Service
    Cariboo Fire Centre


    WILLIAMS LAKE – Smoke from the various wildfires in the Cariboo is drifting into surrounding communities. Smoke and ash have been reported in most areas of the Cariboo. The recent hot and dry weather has made fire behaviour extremely active.

    The smoke is mostly a result of 3 fires of note: the fire near Tezla Lake, about 48 kilometres northwest of Anahim Lake, which has grown to over 7000 hectares; the fire near Narcosli Lake, which is now burning at over 3000 hectares; and the fire northeast of Wutlus Lake, about 60 kilometres west of Quesnel, which has reached 3500 hectares.

    Due to active fire behaviour on the Wutlus Lake fire, the Nazko Highway is closed in both directions from 5.4 km east of Nazko to 33.4 km west of Quesnel. For more information and for up to date road conditions please see or

    Crews are also battling a number of smaller fires within the Cariboo Fire Centre, mostly located in the West Chilcotin. Fire crews are working as hard as possible to contain the fires with the resources available to them. There are over 200 firefighters working throughout the area, as well as contracted support staff. They are assisted by heavy equipment, airtankers and helicopters.

    Fire information and updates can be found on the protection website at or call toll-free 1-888-3FOREST. If you see a wildfire, please report it to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks.

    Kim Steinbart
    Fire Information Officer

    Anahim Lake area fires, 2006

    Once again the Anahim Lake area is threatened by fire. I have a number of friends and clients in that area and am attempting to keep in touch with the situation. There isn't a lot of information available in the media. This is how it was last time there was a large fire in that area - in 2004. At that time I carried reports and pictures from people I knew who live in the area. It might be time to do that again. If you have reliable information on this fire, contact me via the Inside BC web site.

    Meanwhile, here's what I've come up with at this point:

    July 4: The forest service is also battling a wildfire in the Anahim Lake area which has forced the evacuation of one resident. Five aircraft and 118 firefighters have been dispatched to combat that blaze. - Global National (Canadian Press)

    July 4: The largest fire is located 48 kilometers northwest of Anahim Lake by Tezla Lake, and was reported at about 7 p.m. on Sunday. "The largest fire is currently at 150 hectares, and it's considered out of control right now," spokesperson Kim Steinbart said. There are buildings in the area and so far one resident has been asked to keep away from the area because of the air tankers and other firefighting activities. She said that nearly 100 firefighters are on the scene with eight pieces of heavy equipment.- Williams Lake Tribune

    This information is provided by the BC Ministry of Forests:

    Fire No. Geographic Discovery Date Hectares
    C50150 MapQuest 5.5 km N of Tezla Lk Jul 2, 2006 50.00
    C50148 MapQuest 2.4 km N of Tezla Lake Jul 2, 2006 9,000.00

    Click on the number to get more information and on the button to see the location