VICTORIA - B.C.'s landscape is tinder dry in some regions, and with extended hot periods and severe thunderstorms in the Interior, the B.C. government has deployed additional assets to help manage wildfire threats.
The Office of the Fire Commissioner deployed a crew from the Williams Lake Fire Department with a Structure Protection Unit (SPU) to Fort Nelson this past weekend. The industrial-sized sprinkler unit will focus primarily on protecting oil and gas camps and their equipment, as well as a switching station with a total value in excess of $150 million.
The SPU is designed to be deployed during an interface fire to dampen roofs and areas around structures and to prevent sparks or embers from igniting structure fires. One SPU can protect between 30 and 40 homes or larger industrial structures.
Additionally, the Wildfire Management Branch has deployed fire crews, airtankers and heavy equipment to aid suppression efforts in the area.
To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on most cellular networks.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"Fire safety is a top priority for our government and where homes, business and infrastructure can also be protected, we try to mitigate impacts using these Structure Protection Units. This deployment is a good example of how we work to protect significant infrastructure and manage wildfire threats."
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
"Minimizing the negative economic impacts from wildfires is an important part of our overall fire management plan. Installing Structural Protection Units where appropriate is one more tool at our disposal, and is evidence of government's co-ordinated response to wildfire threats."Quick Facts:
- Currently, 91 fires are burning in the province.
- Since April, there have been 663 fires, burning nearly 16,000 hectares of land.
- About 48 per cent of this year's fires have been caused by people.
- The use of Structure Protection Units is one of the ways the B.C. government has actively responded to recommendations made in the Firestorm 2003 Provincial Review. The program is operated and managed by the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), which has expertise in structure protection tactics and strategies.
- B.C. first acquired four SPUs in 2004 through the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
- Since 2009, eight contract units and nine fire department units have also acquired them, providing increased capacity and availability to deploy the units throughout the province.
- This is the second deployment of the SPU resources this year.
- In May, the OFC sent two crews, two SPUs and a structure protection specialist to Pavilion Lake near Lillooet to protect a First Nations community.
Structure Protection Responses (Deployment of Resources)
- 2009: 66 Deployments - approximately 1,000 structures protected
- 2010: 20 Deployments - approximately 500 structures protected
- 2011: 0 Deployments
- 2012: 2 Deployments to date
For fire-related evacuation advisories, alerts or orders, and information related to our recent "scorcher" campaign, visit: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca
To download Structure Protection Unit photos, visit: http://ow.ly/cBwFl
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
Fire Information Officer
Wildfire Management Branch
Prince George Fire Centre
250 961-4176 (cell)