OLIVER – Plumes of smoke from a planned controlled burn have alarmed some in the Oliver and Osoyoos areas. However, there is nothing to worry about as B.C. Wildfire Service says the deliberately set fire hasn’t gotten away from them. The B.C. Wildfire Service started a controlled burn earlier today as they continue to fight the Testalinden Wildfire. Ground crews have already started work on that planned burn.
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“The ground crews have what they call drip torches so it is a small type of metal torch that has a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline in it and the crews actually walk along and light strips of fire in a controlled area within the controlled fire perimeter,” says fire information officer Colette Fauchon.
Fauchon says a helicopter will also be used to ignite the controlled burn in a larger area that is very steep where they can’t get crews on the ground. The method they are using is aimed at creating a low intensity ground fire.
Read More: Testalinden wildfire 80 per cent contained
“We don’t want to burn the trees. So this is one way that we can have a controlled burn and we don’t have to have a candling effect that people often see with high intensity fires,” she says.
The controlled burn is taking place within the fire’s 4506 hectare perimeter.
“The difficulty that we have is that a lot of the fire is on steep terrain. As the fire has been burning trees fall down, they roll down the hill and they just keep spreading the fire within the containment area. So this is one way for us to speed up that process of burning the fuel that the fire is going to burn up anyway over time,” says Fauchon.
The Testalinden Wildfire is currently considered 80 per cent contained. Depending on weather conditions, crews may finish the controlled burn today or continue with the controlled burn tomorrow.
– with files from Angela Jung