Some of the signs put up for people who were evacuated by the Elephant Hill fire returning home. Carole Rooney photo.

Sept. 17: Elephant Hill at 70 per cent containment

People will continue to see smoke within the fire perimeter

The Elephant Hill fire is still 192,725 hectares and is 70 per cent contained since yesterday (Sept. 16), says Fire Information Officer Erin Catherall.

“Today we have 101 firefighters, 40 pieces of heavy equipment, additional support staff and an incident management team … We have firefighters continuing to work in the area and do danger tree assessment that continues to be a major priority for us.”

They’re also conducting infrared scanning and patrols and actioning any hot spots, she says.

“We just really want to let people know the section 11 of the Wildfire Act, which is the restriction still remains in effect around the area. This restriction continues to restrict public access into crown land area … We really don’t want people going into the black so the area that’s burned by the fire because there’s a lot of hazards out there including danger trees and ash pits.”

People will continue to see smoke within the fire perimeter, which is natural, says Catherall.

“As residents return home that will be something that they will see. Right now our priorities are working on containment around the perimeter and mopping up those hot spots. We are expecting to see some wetter conditions over the next couple of days, also some potential for increased winds.”

A really substantial amount of rain is needed to lower the record indices in the area, says Catherall. While the cooler temperatures and increased moisture has helped, the dryness of the organic matter soil, which can be a couple of feet deep, means that we are not entirely done with smoke and fire activity, she explains.

“The rain and cooler conditions have definitely helped, without a doubt, but we really need to see approximately 100mm of rain to bring down those indices.”

Because of that, there’s going to be smoke in the black, but there are no fuels for it to really travel, she says.

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