Fort Nelson, B.C. braces for worsening fires as windstorm approaches.

Windstorm expected to exacerbate fires near Fort Nelson, B.C.

“**NE Saskatchewan Facing Threat of Reignited Fires**

In northeastern B.C., the threat of wildfires reigniting has become a harsh reality for residents in the area. The Nogah Creek and Patry Creek wildfires, previously believed to have been contained, have now flared up again, prompting an evacuation alert and the deployment of firefighting crews.

**The Return of Zombie Fires**

These fires, deemed as sleeper fires or more ominously, zombie fires, had been dormant underground during the winter months. However, as the snow melted and the ground thawed this spring, they roared back to life. Pedro Roldan-Delgado, an information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Service, emphasized the unpredictable nature of these fires, as strong winds and rapidly shifting directions could lead to extreme fire behavior.

Mayor Rob Fraser of Northern Rockies Regional Municipality expressed concerns over the potential impact of a dry storm expected to sweep through the region. The fires, classified as hold-over fires, have the potential to rapidly spread beyond current control boundaries if fueled by strong winds in the arid landscape.

**A Looming Threat**

The Nogah Creek fire, located 60 kilometers east of Fort Nelson, and the Patry Creek fire, situated 40 kilometers from the intersection of the Alaska Highway and Highway 77, pose a visible threat to the surrounding areas. With 119 active wildfires across the province, the BCWS has issued warnings of visible smoke and advised residents to be prepared for evacuation at a moment’s notice.

**Rising Concerns**

The province’s snowpack measuring at only 66 percent of normal levels has significantly raised concerns of drought hazards in the region. The BCWS has highlighted the worrisome resemblance of current conditions to those typically observed in late summer. Criticisms have been raised against the delayed response in addressing these fires, especially during the winter months when access to the Nogah Creek fire was possible.

**Addressing the Crisis**

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the escalating wildfire situation in B.C., linking the severity of forest fires to the impacts of climate change. With the 2023 wildfire season still lingering in memory as the worst on record, costing millions in damages and displacing thousands of residents, preparations are underway to mitigate the potential devastation from this year’s fires.

As the threat of wildfires looms large in northeastern B.C., the need for swift and coordinated action is paramount. While nature’s unpredictability may challenge containment efforts, a united response from all stakeholders remains crucial in safeguarding lives and properties from the ravages of these rekindled flames.”



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