Firefighters Use Planned Ignitions to Try to Contain British Columbian Wildfire

The Battleship Mountain wildfire burning near Hudson’s Hope, a municipality in British Columbia, Canada, has grown to around 28,765 hectares (about 111 square miles), according to the BC Wildfire Service.

This footage posted to Facebook shows aerial views of the fire burning near roads and in a wooded area.

In the video, BC Wildfire Service Operations Chief Andre Chalabi describes the planned ignitions that firefighters conducted to reduce the potential for the fire to cross over the control lines. Chalabi said the expected weather conditions would favor fire growth over the coming days, so burning ahead of the fire will allow the firefighters to take an “offensive approach.”

The Peace River Regional District issued multiple evacuation orders in the area due to the fire. Credit: BC Wildfire Service via Storyful

Video transcript

ANDRE CHALABI: My name is Andre Chalabi. I'm the Operations Section Chief for the Battleship Complex. Yesterday, we conducted planned ignitions along the Table, FSR, the Johnson FSR, and the Goething FSR. The road network is essentially the head of the fire, and it's a little bit away from the fire, but it's where the fire is going to.

And it's our last line of defense in attempts to contain further fire growth to the East. So the objective of the ignition mission to connect the FSR with regen blocks and taking out the either polygons or wicks of timber and slosh was to reduce the potential for the fire to outrun these roads. We're expecting conditions to return to warm and dry, as we saw a few days ago.

And coupled with forecasted winds, these conditions will increase the potential for fire behavior and challenges to our containment lines. So burning ahead of the fire onto our containment lines will allow us to have better success and provide us an opportunity to take an offensive approach, rather than a defensive approach and, perhaps, a withdrawal of our resources should the fire behavior increase. So we have more workable ground and a place that we can safely use our crews for suppression activities and the anticipated change in fire behavior.