BC forest fires: BC Hydro keeps an eye on large flames burning near the transmission line

BC forest fires: BC Hydro keeps an eye on large flames burning near the transmission line

Emergency services officials in British Columbia say a relocation of power lines in central Okanagan found no damage from raging forest fires, but they warn residents to be prepared for possible power outages.

A press release from Central Okanagan Emergency Operations states that BC Hydro conducted air surveillance of its transmission infrastructure earlier Saturday and they saw no damage that could change at any time.

It says people need to have an emergency kit ready with things like a flashlight and food that is not perishable to eat, and have a contingency plan.

BC Wildfire Service has said more than 300 fires are burning across the province, including two major ones in Okanagan.

The Brenda Creek forest fire in central Okanagan remains estimated at 500 acres and is still classified out of control.

BC Hydro spokesman Kevin Aquino says in an email that the Brenda Creek fire is burning along a directional road for its transmission line serving the city of West Kelowna, but no serious damage was seen during Saturday’s flyover.

“We continue to work with BC Wildfire to protect the transmission line and the crews are on standby and ready to respond with a moment’s notice,” Aquino wrote.

Aquino noted that crews perform regular maintenance, such as inspecting trees growing near its infrastructure and replacing aging poles. He said maintenance also includes spraying fire retardants on poles that are most vulnerable to a wildfire.

Fortis BC, a supplier of both electricity and natural gas, also warns people to be prepared for possible service interruptions due to forest fires.

Central Okanagan emergency officials direct people and businesses to the Interior Health website for food safety guidelines in the event of a power failure.

The province’s transportation ministry said Saturday that forest fires are affecting travel, and the ministry warned not to go to areas with evacuation alarms.

While this may seem like obvious advice, the Caribou Regional District Emergency Operations Center posted on social media that it actually avoided sending all roadblocks “in hopes of preventing bad people from stumbling around.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 17, 2021.

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