Strong winds on April 21 knocked out electricity supplies for almost 2,000 households between Fraser Lake and Houston, including Burns Lake and started a small forest fire. The fire broke out at Forest Dale Canyon, 20 kilometres west of Burns Lake near Topley after the wind downed a tree onto power lines, which fell and made contact with dry grass, igniting a tree.
Fire fighters, including some from the Topley volunteer fire department responded to the blaze and told Black Press it would be put out by night time.
Outages occurred between 4 and 8 p.m. on Sunday evening leaving roughly 3,200 residents in the rural areas in the dark and 2,800 residents and shops were effected within Smithers town limits. Other smaller outages were reported along Highway 16 as well. Hydro crews worked through the night effectively restoring power before sunrise to most areas.
The high winds continued the return of typically strange spring weather that residents are all too familiar with in the central interior. This last week weather ranged from hail to high winds to snowfall up to five cenimeters along Highway 16. This trend is unlikely to end soon, with snow and light flurries forecasted for Thursday and Friday. Winds are forecasted to reach up to 20 to 30 kilometers per hour this week, so being tentatively prepared for power outages is still worth doing. Having safe drinking water put aside, a battery-powered radio and other necessities such as flashlights make enduring power outages much more bearable.
In light of the inconvenience, there were no injuries or accidents reported from last weeks outage, and restoration went without incident.
If you do find yourself in an outage and have access to the internet, first check the outage map at bchydro.com to see if your outage has been reported. If it has not been reported or you have no means of checking you should then call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) to report it. Texting *HYDRO (*49376) or logging into MyHydro are also ways to let Hydro know your power is out. You can also follow BC Hydro on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with outages in your area.