Two major fires erupted in both Port Edward and Prince Rupert on the weekend, causing the area’s fire departments and RCMP forces to be tied up for hours containing them.
No injuries have been reported in either instance.
The first blaze occurred on Skeena Drive in Port Edward at 5:50 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
Port Edward volunteer firefighters responded to a call of a brush fire behind Kristoff Trucking and near Evergreen Drive. They soon called for reinforcements from the Prince Rupert Fire Department.
While fighting the flames, strong winds forced responders to call a helicopter from Terrace and an air tanker from Kelowna to help out.
RCMP told campers at the nearby Kinnikinnick Campground and RV Park and all of Evergreen Drive to evacuate their residences. By 9 p.m. that night, they were told they could return and the fire had been contained.
Over the weekend, 20 BC Wildfire Service personnel assessed the damage and started an investigation into the cause of the fire and determined that 3.7 hectares of the area was burnt.
“They’re still on site … the fire is in patrol status which means that there’s no activity on the fire right now, they’re looking for remaining smoke and hot spots,” said BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Olivia Pojar late Sunday.
A release by the wildfire service added that no structures were immediately threatened and “the fire is burning in slash and standing timber at the northwest base of Mount Stewart”.
Thirty hours later, Prince Rupert RCMP and fire department crews responded to a call at 12:30 a.m. Saturday night, concerning a fire at the New Moon restaurant building in the 600 block of Third Avenue East.
Swift action by the crews kept the neighbouring buildings intact, save for water damage.
“The apartments [above the restaurant] took severe damage – lots of water damage throughout the floor and kitchen … They won’t be used again,” said Prince Rupert fire chief Dave Mckenzie on scene on Sunday.
The fire was extinguished at 4 a.m. and Third Avenue was still blocked off by Monday morning.
Debris from the building had been strewn across Third Avenue and Sixth Street and was later cleaned up by city workers.
“At this time, it appears as though the fire broke out in the common kitchen area of the apartments located directly above the restaurant,” media relations officer Const. Matt Ericson said in a release posted by the RCMP on Sunday afternoon.
“This fire is not believed to be suspicious in nature.”
As a result of the activity, neighbouring buildings were evacuated and nearby businesses and residences lost power temporarily.