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Larger planned ignitions used to combat the Doctor Creek Wildfire

A larger-scale planned ignition is underway by the BC Wildfire Service to help support crews better contain the southeast perimeter of the Doctor Creek wildfire.

The BC Wildfire Service said the planned ignition will begin on Friday, as early as 12 p.m., and a column of smoke will be visible in the area.

“The southeast flank of the fire remains very active. Due to steep terrain, heavy equipment has been unable to operate in this area and local wind patterns have limited direct attack. The planned ignition will bring the fire’s edge down to pre-determined boundaries where crews will be able to safely deliver water to the fire’s edge,” said the BC Wildfire Service.

As of Friday morning, the fire southwest of Canal Flats is estimated to be about 7,000-hectares in size.

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Containment lines have been established along the south, southeast and southwest flanks of the fire to prepare for ignition.

“Heavy equipment control lines and hand guard on the south flank have been tied into steep rocky terrain on the east flank where helicopters have been delivering fire retardant. To the west, the southern control line ties into a natural fuel break,” explained the BC Wildfire Service.

Crews will mostly be using Plastic Sphere Dispensers (PSD) to complete aerial ignitions. The golf-ball-sized polystyrene spheres are loaded onto a helicopter to be accurately dropped onto the landscape below. The spheres are partially filled with potassium permanganate crystals, a flammable substance that can be used to ignite fuel sources with varying moisture levels.

“As the spheres are deployed from the helicopter tiny pins inject the spheres with small amounts of ethylene glycol (antifreeze) and water. Once deployed, the chemicals react in such a way to gently combust shortly after the spheres reach the ground,” said the BC Wildfire Service.

Water and fire retardant will be applied by additional helicopters to help secure control lines. The fire’s edge will be cleaned up with hand ignitions once the fire is brought down to pre-determined boundaries.

Earlier in the week, the RDEK partially rescinded its Evacuation Order while the BC Wildfire Service reduced the size of the Area Restrictions.

Previous: Doctor Creek Wildfire Evacuation ORDER partially rescinded (Sept 2, 2020)

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