Residents returning home are being warned to watch out for danger trees which have been damaged by fire and may be prone to falling. Tara Sprickerhoff photo.

Sept. 15: Returning residents urged to ‘stay out of the black’

Crews continue to make progress on Elephant Hill fire

The Elephant Hill fire received ten to 15 mm of rain near Sheridan Lake yesterday, says Fire Information Officer Erin Catherall.

“The cooler conditions have definitely helped with suppression efforts,” she says. “We continue to patrol and action hot spots that have been identified by infrared aerial scans, as well as danger tree assess.”

While there “is definitely fire out there,” she says, they are not seeing any substantial elevated fire behaviour.

She says that while some evacuation orders are being lifted in the Cariboo Regional District and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District tomorrow at 2 p.m., the area closure still remains in effect.

Related: CRD evacuation order south of Hwy 24 lifted effective 2 p.m. Sunday

Related: Pressy, Little Pressy, Hihium and Young Lake to be allowed home on Sept. 16

The area restriction restricts access to crown land for those who do not have residences in the area, as well as those who are travelling for an official capacity or for work.

For those returning home, she says it’s important to be cautious and to follow those restrictions.

“Danger trees is a major concern … Those areas that did see aggressive fire activity earlier this summer, it did weaken the roots and damage many trees which does make them susceptible to toppling over in the event of a wind. So, while trees might look normal, they might have roots that are burnt. They are easily pushed over with a wind event, so we really don’t want people in those areas for their own safety.

“It’s really important that people do stay out of the black.”

She says that the areas will be assessed prior to people coming home, but that people returning will continue to see smoke in the area as well as burnt trees.

“We do want people to know that smoke will continue to be visible within the fire perimeter, but this is normal and likely people will be seeing smoke until the snow flies.”

She also reminds residents that crews are still working in the area.

“It is still an active fire area. We do have operational staff working there, crews out on the road. Be mindful of that, drive slowly when you are coming through the area,” she says.

In the meantime, she says that crews continue to work at mop up and patrol. The BC Wildfire Service is also conducting scans to identify remaining hot spots in the perimeter areas for crews to action in the coming days.

“Crews are continuing to make good progress.”