The last evacuation orders for the TNRD and the CRD were lifted during the past week. Residents returned home to welcoming signs. Carole Rooney photo.

85 per cent containment on Elephant Hill fire

Smoke likely to be visible until the snow flies

The Elephant Hill fire has not seen any grown in the last while, and as of today the fire is 85 per cent contained, says Fire Information Officer Erin Catheral.

“Crews are continuing to make good progress on the fire, this with the cooler weather conditions that we have received has definitely helped with suppression efforts,” she says.

“Just having a guard around the fire isn’t sufficient for containment, we have to remove fuel from the guard around the fire perimeter,” says Catheral. “Sometimes we use natural features such as lakes that use forest service roads and remove some of the fuels between that road and the fire perimeter. It’s a combination between the really good efforts crews have been making out on the line as well as having favourable weather conditions that are allowing us to get into some of those areas and remove some of those fuels to prevent further spread.”

Crews continue to work on patrol and mop in the area, and a number aerial infrared scans have been completed to identify hot spots in the area. Crews have been sent out to action those, says Catheral.

While danger trees continue to be a concern, she says there are assessors on site looking into the areas to identify them to deal with.

Area restrictions remain in place around the fire, including over Green Lake and Sheridan Lake. These restrictions restrict public access to both the lakes and the area, except for residents going to and from their home as well as commercial operations.

She says there is fire still burning.

“We have had a decrease in the severity of the fire for sure, with cooler conditions. Even though we aren’t seeing the plumes that we saw earlier this summer it definitely is still active out there. A lot of crews that are going out there and actioning hot spots but it is expected that we will continue to see smokes probably until the snow flies this winter, but these smokes will be well within the fire perimeter and well within the black, because they don’t pose any risk to life or property.”

Despite the cold, she says crews are holding up well, especially being able to see residents come back into their homes.

“It’s def a change going into your camps when the temperature is in the negative numbers, but we’re all happy to be doing our share.”

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