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Planned burns to be used against Doctor Creek Wildfire

The BC Wildfire Service will use planned ignitions along the southeast side of the Doctor Creek wildfire at around noon on Friday to help gain containment of the flames if conditions allow.

The BC Wildfire Service said planned ignitions have been the most effective strategy against the fire, as sustained local winds and challenging terrains, such as steep slopes, ridges and rocky outcrops have posed challenges to firefighting efforts.

As of Friday, the fire located about 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats estimated to be about 7,937 hectares in size. The blaze is believed to be sparked by a lightning strike and was discovered on August 18th.

A 600-metre-long and 10-metre-wide fuel-free buffer zone has been created along the southeast flank in preparation for the planned ignition. The buffer zone ties into a heavy equipment control line on the east flank and a steep, rocky avalanche chute to the south.

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“The objective of the planned ignition is to remove unburned fuels between the fire perimeter and these pre-determined control lines. This tactic will bring the fire’s edge down to more easily accessible terrain where ground crews can safely deliver water directly to the fire’s edge,” said the BC Wildfire Service.

Helicopters will provide support from the air with water and fire retardant, while heavy equipment has completed contingency lines along the south and east flanks of the fire.

The burns will be ignited using mostly Plastic Sphere Dispensers and heli-torches dropped from the air, with ground crews using hand ignitions to clean up the fire’s edge once it is brought to the pre-determined boundaries.

As of Friday,  the BC Wildfire Service has committed 162 firefighters, eight pieces of heavy equipment and seven helicopters to fight the blaze.

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