Sept. 4: Elephant Hill fire now estimated at 192,725 hectares

Burn off between Tin Cup Lake and Jim Mountain successful

9 p.m. update: A burn off between Tin Cup Lake and Jim Mountain went successfully today, says Fire Information Officer for the Elephant Hill Fire Noelle Kekula.

“They got quite a bit of it done, they’ve got a little bit more today and tomorrow but the majority of it got done and really successfully, so they were really happy with the results of that burn off operation,” she says. “That was tightening that north west peice south of Green Lake,” she says.

Additionally, she says crews were “aggressively” working on the north flank of the fire.

“Today we’ve had air support, we would create a control line with the equipment, we would burn off some unburned fuel and then we would mop up and then we would do it again in another section, just slowly and surely working on that north flank with a whole lot of equipment and manpower and support. So really, really, really hitting it hard.”

The Elephant Hill fire is now estimated to be 192,725 hectares in size. Crews today were able to do some more accurate mapping thanks to a lessening of smoke and ground crews in the area.

Additionally, updated area restrictions have come into effect on the Elephant Hill fire. The area includes all Crown land, including Green Lake and Sheridan Lake. Entry to the area is only allowed if you are travelling to or from a residence, using a highway, travelling in an official capacity, for the purpose of supporting wildfire suppression or participating in a commercial or agricultural activity. Details, including a map, are available here.

“That is just to discourage people from trying to have a look to see what we are up to, so it’s for safety,” says Kekula.

While Kekula says there may be some wind shifts tomorrow, she says weather analysts are currently hard at work figuring out what exactly is expected.

“If there is a shift it may push the smoke back into the valley, into the area, and when there is often smoke in the area it means there is no wind and it is calm, and it may calm the [fire] behaviour down as well,” she says.

“The fire did get close to Sheridan Lake the other day but just that little corner of it and hence us working that area really really hard that whole head of the fire.”

Original story: There was some growth on the Elephant Hill fire yesterday but structures were not lost, says Fire Information Officer Noelle Kekula. They’re currently waiting for smoke to clear to get more accurate mapping, she says.

“The objective today is to build or work off existing control lines, do some planned ignitions and mop up,” to try and get rid of unburned fuel on the north flank and from Hutchinson to Sheridan Lake, she says.

They’re expecting similar conditions to yesterday with northern winds and little growth on the north end, she says.

“Unless some bizarre wind shift pattern that no one is predicting or knows is coming occurs, but everything in our weather forecast is telling northerlies again for the next few days.”

She says that according to the last map the fire was close to Watch Lake.

“I don’t think it’s grown much to that area. If anything, because the wind was coming from the north, that it would have been pushed away from that area right because the winds wouldn’t have pushed it further north, it would have pushed it south.”

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Taken from the north side of Green Lake looking toward the south side of Green Lake - the Jim and Nolan Lake area on Sept. 1. Joanne Macaluso photo.

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