The Battleship Mountain wildfire burning near Hudson’s Hope, a municipality in British Columbia, Canada, has grown to around 28,000 hectares (about 108 square miles), according to the BC Wildfire Service.
This footage posted to Facebook shows aerial views of the fire burning in a wooded area. In the video, BC Wildfire Service Incident Commander Scott Rennick says firefighters have been retreating due to the “extreme fire behavior.”
The Peace River Regional District issued multiple evacuation orders in the area due to the fire. Credit: BC Wildfire Service via Storyful
SCOTT RENNICK: I'm Scott Rennick, and I am the Incident Commander of the Battleship Complex. It's been a-- it's been a tough couple days on the incident with the weather and the drought conditions that we're in right now. We've been in this situation where we've been retreating, on the defensive, and that's really been due to the extreme fire behavior, and it is extreme fire behavior that we've been seeing.
Also, one of the big limiting factors for us as well is that, we have one access and egress, in and out to the back end of the fire, and that's actually been compromised day after day by the fire as it's been coming down that route. So it's made it very, very challenging.
I think one of the things that people don't realize is that when a fire gets to the state that it's been over the last couple of days, this is no different than any natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. There's just nothing we can do to get in front of it. We can't put people in front of it, aircraft, heavy equipment. We just have to basically pull people back and make sure they're safe. And that's the situation we've been in in the last couple of days.
But this morning, we had a bit of a turn in the weather, and the fact that it was less aggressive, less wind, which we haven't seen now for a number of days. And we were able to take advantage of it to essentially do a planned ignition, but a defensive ignition. So what that is, is on the east flank of the fire, what we've done is actually used fire on our terms to create a barrier between the natural wildfire that is advancing eastwards, in an effort to slow or stem its spread. And so we had an opportunity, we took it. And so far, we've been successful.
There's been a lot of-- a lot of stuff has happened in the communities that are ahead of the fire in the last number of hours, but we're still working quite, quite hard at this time to prepare and to be able to defend those communities. And that includes the incredible amount of work that our structure protection crews have been doing in and around the community of Hudson Hope, that includes the resourcing up of structure defense task teams.
If we do get the conditions with the wind becoming calmer, we will be able to go on the offensive tomorrow for the first time in a number of days to establish a south line, and to be able to get towards, at least contingency lines, towards what would be the bigger boxes, a bigger containment line, which is further to the south. So I'm optimistic about it. We had a really tough day yesterday. We've had a pretty successful day so far, and I feel we're as ready as we can be for what comes over the next 24 hours.