Pictured here is an example of a B.C. Wildfire Service burn to rid an area of combustible material. (Photo courtesy the B.C. Wildfire Service)

Pictured here is an example of a B.C. Wildfire Service burn to rid an area of combustible material. (Photo courtesy the B.C. Wildfire Service)

Wind shift brings smoke into community

Fire meant to diminish chances of real fire danger

With smoke from a fire set by the BC Wildfire Service filtering into the community, the service is now telling people to contact health care providers if they have difficulty breathing.

The blaze was set to rid an area of 230 hectares of waste wood and winds had been moving the smoke away from the community but that changed yesterday.

“Due to a change in wind direction and increased wind speed, fire and smoke activity have increased on location. Community members can expect smoke in the community to last for the remainder of today and into Tuesday,” a release late yesterday from the wildfire service indicated.

“Anyone experiencing any of the following symptoms should contact a health care provider: difficulty in breathing; chest pain or discomfort; sudden onset of a cough; or irritation of airways,” the service added.

It listed other worries:

– Exposure is of particular concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease or heart disease.

– Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.

– Residents are advised to consider avoiding strenuous outdoor activities.

The area 7.5 kilometres southwest of Houston between the Buck Flats Road and the Morice River Forest Service Road has been of concern to officials because of the risk of a wildfire fed by winds sweeping into the community from that direction.

Over the past two years, a $1 million grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. provided to the District of Houston has been used to clear a portion of that area to act as a fireguard and another large area is being replanted with a mixture of species design to minimize risk should a fire start.

Outside of that area, the B.C. Wildfire Service has been conducting its own project.

“Once complete, the project will reduce the risk of wildfire impacting the community of Houston,” said the wildfire service.