A small wildfire was extinguished on Copper Mountain this past weekend, but a larger wildfire was taking hold southwest of Kitimat.
Fire crews were called to a smolder on the southwest face of Copper Mountain around 1:30 p.m. May 10. BC Wildfire Service initial attack crews were assisted by 15 firefighters from the Thornhill Volunteer Fire Department, according to Thornhill fire chief Rick Boehm.
The fire was under control by that evening. Boehm said his crew returned to the station around 6 p.m.
He said the fire was just above JL’s Excavating pit, near where a landslide rumbled down the mountain April 22.
The fire was burning mostly ladder fuel, which is accumulated debris, such as dead twigs and conifer needles, on the forest floor. The fire was about 50 metres by 50 metres, by Boehm’s estimate. He said the fire could have been a lot worse.
“Keep in mind [it’s] a southwest-facing slope, so it’s super dry, it’s in the sun a lot, we had high wind during that response,” he said. “So we were dealing with a high potential for a different outcome, however we were very fortunate to get control of it in a timely fashion.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is suspected to be human-caused, according to a statement from the BC Wildfire Service.
Human-cause is also suspected in a much larger fire May 10 in a clearcut off the old Bish Creek Forest Service Road, south of Kitimat. That fire was approximately 10 hectares, at the time of writing, with 41 firefighters and two helicopters battling it. An air tanker from Kamloops also assisted.
Wind and warm weather were a concern and the BC Wildfire Service was asking the public to stay clear.