Wildfires continued to be cause for concern for natural gas producers in northeast British Columbia throughout the month of August, but there was no damage to infrastructure as a result.
The Pesh Fire, which was discovered on July 5, continued to be a significant concern for producers working northeast of Fort Nelson. Measuring 8,697 hectares in size on August 24, the fire was situated just south of a gas plant and just north of other infrastructure.
“We set up sprinklers around the plant … closer to the forested area to make sure it was damper in that area,” said Jillian Chimko, a fire information officer with the Prince George Fire Centre, adding that there was also an evacuation alert for operations south of the fire.
“It’s actually still in place,” she said on August 24. “And just kind of set up a trigger point that if the fire passed this trigger point, then there would be an evacuation. And then we would take different steps to protect whatever structures were out there.”
The Capot-Blanc Complex was also a concern.
Discovered on July 22, the pair of fires had grown to a collective size of about 6,000 hectares by August 24.
“The Capot-Blanc Complex … also had a gas plant, a switching station and a drill site to the west of it,” said Chimko.
“We had a structural protection unit set up on each one of those stations. We had four of them set up in total. And then we just worked on our main objective, [which] was working on the west side of the fire to build a really good guard between the fire and the infrastructures in the area. And then we successfully built our guard and things have calmed down. That fire’s got quite a bit of rain in the past 24 hours.
“We don’t foresee any problems there.”
A camp close to the Capot-Blanc complex made their own decision to evacuate.
“And then they themselves chose to come back when they realized the fire was a little more secure and the threat wasn’t as imminent as anticipated,” said Chimko.
“[The wildfires have] quieted down a little bit based on the precipitation and the cooler temperatures we’re finally getting up north.”