The Shovel Lake wildfire burns on a mountain above Fraser Lake near Fort Fraser, B.C., on Thursday August 23, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Shovel Lake wildfire in northwest B.C. not expected to grow further

One of the province’s largest fires was hit with scattered showers overnight

The BC Wildfire Service says precipitation and favourable weather have allowed it to contain one of the province’s largest active wildfires, more than a month after it was initially discovered.

After growing to more than 900 square kilometres, the fire burning near Shovel Lake in northwestern B.C. was hit with scattered showers overnight, and Claire Allen of the BC Wildfire Service said any further growth is unlikely.

“We’re not under control yet, seeing as there is still a lot of internal activity and a lot of work for crews to do over the next few weeks here,” Allen said Sunday.

That work includes clearing up hotspots, perimeter patrols and assessing potentially-dangerous tree falls.

The nights in the northwest part of B.C. are becoming quite cool and dropping to near-freezing levels, which Allen said reduces their burning window considerably, though the turn of seasons does not necessarily mean the end of the wildfire season.

“The winds do tend to pick up in the fall so that’s something we’re watching quite closely,” she added.

READ MORE: Emergency response firm owner shares his side of Burns Lake wildfire decision

Apart from potential gusts, Sunday’s forecast in the area was favourable, with highs in the mid to upper teens and plenty of moisture in the air with a humidity index of nearly 40 per cent.

This comes after winds gusting up to 60 kilometres per hour hit the blaze on Friday, which did not push the fire past the established containment lines.

Allen said as the season ends, the importance of establishing containment lines ahead of a fire front is considerably lessened, and firefighters can change their tactics to match the lowered fire activity.

“Fire behaviour generally becomes reduced this time of year, so our crews are able to do a bit more direct attack,” she said from the fire centre in Prince George, B.C.

Allen said they have not seen as much torching in the area, where trees burn from the bottom up and resemble a torch, but noted that as autumn nears, deciduous trees will shed their leaves and create a different problem.

She said deciduous leaves tend to hold more moisture in the summer and can act as natural barrier for ground fires, but as the leaves dry and tumble from their branches, they can act as fuel for smouldering ground fires.

“We’ll be watching that in case it kicks up additional surface ground fires and have crews respond to that,” she said, adding she expected firefighters would have another few weeks left before that could become a problem.

Several evacuation alerts in the area were rescinded on Aug. 31, though further evacuation orders and alerts in the area will remain in effect.

On Sunday, an alert issued for 872 properties by the district of Fort St. James, a municipality due northeast of the wildfire, was fully rescinded.

Allen said there is no longer a threat to any structures near the Shovel Lake wildfire and Fort St. James, and that while the wildfire service could confirm the blaze was man-made, the exact cause of the fire was still under investigation by the Prince George Fire Centre.

An area restriction for public safety will remain in place for the wildfire near Shovel Lake until at least noon on Sept. 15.

Spencer Harwood, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Young balance-bikers race through Surrey’s Civic Plaza at Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

‘Potentially life-threatening’ injuries in overnight Surrey crash

Police had Highway 10 between 180th and 186th streets closed for several hours

45-year-old ID’ed as victim of South Surrey stabbing

Delphin Paul Prestbakmo died at the scene, near 18 Avenue and 152 Street

Support granted for NatureKids

Program provides opportunities for youth and families to learn about and enjoy the outdoors

Puppy rescued from smoky South Surrey condo

Fire alarms brought firefighters to the Morgan Crossing residences around 7 p.m. Thursday

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Most Read