According to a press release, the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) are preparing to conduct a larger-scale planned ignition on the Doctor Creek wildfire, beginning at around noon on Friday, Sept. 4.
This planned ignition intends to help support crews achieve greater containment on the south east perimeter of this fire, which is currently estimated at 7000 hectares in size and located about 25 kilometres south west of Canal Flats.
The fire’s south east flank remains highly active, according to the South East Fire Centre’s (SEFC) information bulletin.
”Due to steep terrain, heavy equipment has been unable to operate in this area and local wind patterns have limited direct attack,” the release stated. “The planned ignition will bring the fire’s edge down to pre-determined boundaries where crews will be able to safely deliver water to the fire’s edge. Today’s ignition will tie into the smaller-scale ignition that was successfully completed yesterday afternoon.”
In preparation for Friday’s planned ignition, fire fighting crews have established containment lines along the south, south east and south west flanks of the fire.
Heavy control lines and hand guards on the south flank have also been tied into steep rocky terrain on the east flanks, where helicopters have been delivering fire retardant.
Sikorsky S-61 helicopters, as shown in this video, are being utilized to deliver fire retardant to reinforce containment lines on the southeast flank. Sikorsky’s are capable of safely and effectively bucketing up to 750 gallons of liquid. pic.twitter.com/sxphov9thx
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) September 4, 2020
On the fire’s west end, the southern control line ties into a natural fuel break.
Most of the planned aerial ignitions will be done with Plastic Sphere Dispensers (PSD). These are mounted to helicopters to accurately deploy golf-ball sized polystyrene sphere onto the landscape. These spheres are partially filled with potassium permanganate crystals.
As they are released from the helicopter, the chemicals react causing a gentle combustion, shortly after they reach the ground.
Additional helicopters will also be used for water and fire retardant delivery to help secure control lines. Ground crews will use hand ignitions to help clean up the fire’s edge once the fire is brought down to pre-determined boundaries.
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