Final Final Update 10:50PM
WIldfire service just updated their statement on the website. Here is the important part that deals with the ignition and rumours of jumping.
The staged ignition was completed today. A heli-drip torch was used to ignite the burn area, and the fire met its objective to produce a moderate intensity ground fire.
It is expected that this fire will produce smoky conditions for two to three days after which the smoke should start to dissipate.
There were a number of posting to social media and second hand reports provided to our reporting centre about burning taking place elsewhere than in the burn area. We took these reports seriously, and relayed this information to the two helicopters tasked with looking for any spots that might have occurred from the ignition. None were found. We would like the public’s help – please, if you see anything, call the information in. The detail that the observer sees is valuable information. Please call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on your cell phone if you see a forest fire or column of smoke.
Final Update 10:25PM
I am going on there being no direct or official confirmation of the fire jumping. There are crews on the ground checking and monitoring so if there is anything out there, they will find it.
If anyone sees a plume of smoke that they think is not part of the Dog Mountain Fire itself, the best thing is to call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 ASAP so the Fire Service can check it and call them back to see if they have confirmed it.
Smoke can be very deceiving in our terrain and with the wind constantly shifting so if you don’t actually see flame you might not be seeing fire.
Air Quality readings are back online. Here is the 9PM update. It’s back above 20 and it definitely spiked again during the day though not as badly as Tuesday.
Have a great night and stay safe, and calm, out there. The firefighters remain, doing their job the best they can. I know that they know that they have a whole Valley and Province behind them cheering them on.
The ACRD released a news release on the fire.
The last update from BC Wildfire has the fire at 245 hectares. There are now 35 firefighters and 4 helicopters on the fire. The controlled burn has happened so it will be smokey for the next few days.
Still no official or photo confirmation of fire jumped from Dog Mountain. Coastal Fire Centre says no.— Alberni Weather (@alberniweather) July 9, 2015
Thunderbirds are on the ground in fossli park checking. Fire department in the area as well keeping their eyes open— Alberni Weather (@alberniweather) July 9, 2015
Unconfirmed report that the fire has jump across in the “Z” area to the other side of the lake which would have it threaten Fossli Park.
I have also heard that the controlled burn has taken place.
Will update soon.
BC AQ website seems to have skipped the 9AM air quality update. Hoping for the 10AM one to be posted in next 15 minutes. Smoky again.— Alberni Weather (@alberniweather) July 8, 2015
We have entered Day 5 of the saga that has been the Dog Mountain Fire. I may not update this post as frequently today. Keep an eye on my twitter feed at http:www.twitter.com/alberniweather for updates.
Map your Pictures
Last night I created the picture below.
I also made this webpage: http://alberniweather.ca/dogmountainfiremap
As of last night when I created this map readers have indicated that the major hotspots of the fire are:
- between J and K
- near A
- between T and U
If you are taking pictures of the fire, please feel free to use this resource to help pinpoint and describe where the pictures are. Time and date are also always important. I hope this resource helps with some of the confusion.
How big is, and will be, the fire?
The AVNews is reporting this morning that the fire is 160 hectares.
Someone asked me if this fire could grow to, say, 1000 hectares? So I pulled out Google Earth again to see just how big the Dog Mountain Peninsula is. Here is the answer from Google Earth which stuns me constantly with its accuracy.
So provided the fire is “contained” on that peninsula, then that is the absolute maximum it could attain. If it jumps or defeats the fire lines, then all bets are off as to how far it could go. I do truly hope it would not be allowed to consume the entire ‘mountain’ of course but it has already burned through roughly 1/3rd of it.
Major action being taken today weather-permitting
Assuming the smoke does not ground all aircraft and helicopters like it did yesterday, we should see both more helicopter activity as well as hopefully new CL-215 “skimmers” from Ontario arrive to help suppress the flames.
The Wildfire branch is also planning a controlled burn today that will hopefully create a fire break that will prevent the fire from travelling beyond the break. It is unclear where that break is going to be made and I imagine it will depend on the timing and the action of the fire itself.
Mars firing up engines today.
Weather/Smoke permitting, the Hawaii Mars should fire up her engines for the first time today and run through training and shakedown flights.
I have heard the first flights should take place this afternoon. If all goes well, she will be Good to Go for actually fighting fires by Thursday. There is a rumour that may drop her test water runs on the Dog Mountain fire. Seems to make sense, but that would all be up to the BC Wildfire folks to approve.
Air Quality remains variable
While there is some cloud and smoke in the air over town, the Air Quality indicators are OK this morning with the 1hr at only 17g/m3.
One Final Comment – Investing in Fire Protection
One last comment. Lets all remember that it is only the 8th of July. In a “normal” year, the mountains would still have snow, we would just be feeling our first really hot stretch of the year, and the lakes and rivers would be full of water and salmon.
4 Weeks ago I was at a “West Island Woodlands Advisory Group” (WIWAG) meeting. During that meeting a Western Forest Products representative was talking about the conditions in their forest tenures which stretch from Carmanah to Clayoquot. He made it very clear that they were seeing weather and forest conditions like nothing they had ever seen before in terms of dryness in the bush. He gave us a very stark warning that any fire could lead to “catastrophic” consequences on par with the Taylor River fire in 1967.
There were indications of this being a very abnormal year many weeks, even months ago. The question must be asked. Why were we not better prepared?
Why were our fire fighters, who are doing incredible work, not increased in number in preparation for this. Why were resources not increased? It is always hard to plan based on weather forecasts that can easily change, but this year the writing was on the wall.
Will this be the new normal with climate change? And if it is, will the province start to increase funding to our Forest Fire services?
A city that no longer gets any snow because weather patterns are changing would get rid of snowplows. It’s an easy decision that is sometimes too quickly made (remember Victoria?). But if it starts to snow a lot more, will that City rush to buy new equipment? Probably not… no one likes to see costs increasing.
However, when dealing with public health and safety, time and time again both the wise and popular choice in the long run is always to make the investment because it avoids risk and many hidden costs down the road.