1. #1
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    Default Families Flee Fires in BC and CROWSNEST PASS, Kamloops area under STATE OF EMERGENCY

    Families flee forest fires in Western Canada

    By Allan Dowd

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Tinderbox dry conditions in the mountains of Western Canada Friday had hundreds of firefighters battling scores of wind-fanned wildfires that have forced families to evacuate their homes in British Columbia and Alberta.

    Vancouver officials were worried enough to warn residents about the danger of accidentally setting the city's parks ablaze.

    And the province of Alberta has banned camping in a popular wilderness area during the long weekend holiday as 11 wildfires burned out of control on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

    A rapidly growing 2,500-hectare (6,180-acre) fire in the mountains about 300 km (185 miles) northwest of Vancouver has forced 30 families near McLure, British Columbia, to flee their homes, and 1,800 residents of Barriere were told to be prepared to leave on a moment's notice.

    "It's burning right through the fire retardant we're putting on the ground, that's a real indication to us that is is like no other year that we've seen," said Steve Bachop, of the B.C. Forest Service.

    No deaths or major injuries have been reported, but the McLure Fire has forced officials to close a major highway in the region and local media said Canadian National Railway has shut down its mainline through the area.

    Alberta's biggest blaze, the Lost Creek Fire that is scorching the Crowsnest Pass in the southwest, had expanded to 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) as of Friday morning, despite an army of 800 firefighters trying to hold it back.

    Amid hot weather, the fire was within 4 km (2-1/2 miles) of the town of Blairmore, which is home to about 2,000 people in the picturesque Rocky Mountain pass, now under a state of emergency.

    Residents of Blairmore and nearby Coleman who live near a major TransCanada Corp. natural gas pipeline that runs to British Columbia from Alberta were put on full alert for potential evacuation, officials said Friday.

    TransCanada spokeswoman Hejdi Feick said there was no danger that the gas could ignite because the export pipeline was buried underground at a minimum of 1.2 metres (4 feet).

    However, firefighters were using the line's right-of-way as a fire break, she said.

    Crews were fighting the blaze with nine water bombers, 21 helicopters and 34 bulldozers.

    Officials were concerned enough about the fire danger in the Crowsnest Pass to ban public access to a 216,000-hectare (533,000-acre) wilderness area south of Blairmore.

    Much of Western Canada saw little rainfall in July, and fire officials have warned that British Columbia's mountains are dryer than in 1998 and 1985 -- considered the province's two worst fire seasons in recent history.

    No major rainfall was forecast for the weekend.

    An estimated 290 fires were burning Friday in British Columbia, which is slightly larger in area than Germany and France combined, although most of the blazes were small.

    08/01/03 15:35 ET

    Fire crews brace for wind shift as they fight flames in Alta's Crowsnest Pass


    BLAIRMORE, Alta. (CP) - Fire crews were bracing for wind shifts Friday which could push the massive Lost Creek blaze closer to communities in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwest Alberta.

    Flames remained within four kilometres of the the town of Blairmore as 800 firefighters worked to try and contain the out of control blaze. Ground crews were supported by nine water bombers, 21 helicopters, 34 bulldozers and 20 water trucks.

    About 2,700 residents of the region in the Rocky Mountains were still on alert to evacuate quickly if necessary.

    The fire covered an area of about 140 square kilometres Friday.

    More than 100 people from the mining town of Hillcrest have been out of their homes since they were evacuated Sunday.

    Public access to the area remained restricted. The hot, dry conditions have also prompted Parks Canada to impose fire bans in Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton and Glacier-Revelstoke national parks.

    The Canadian Press, 2003

    08/1/2003 16:24 EST
    Last edited by RspctFrmCalgary; 08-01-2003 at 09:10 PM.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Default THIS JUST IN!

    Forest Fire Forces Evacuation of 1,800 in Canada

    By Allan Dowd

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Hundreds of people were ordered to evacuate their homes on Friday as a wind-whipped forest fire roared through the tinder-dry mountains of British Columbia despite efforts to control it.

    Officials ordered the 1,800 residents of Barriere, British Columbia, about 300 km (185 miles) northeast of Vancouver, to leave immediately, having issued a similar order on Thursday to about 30 families in the community of McLure.

    The fire that began on Wednesday had grown to 2,500 hectares (6,180 acres) by Friday morning and was burning rapidly through the dry forest, with rugged terrain hampering the ability of crews to reach it.

    Water-bombers were also being used, but officials said conditions were so dry it took repeated attacks by the fire-fighting aircraft to even slow the blaze.

    "It's burning right through the fire retardant we're putting on the ground, that's a real indication to us that it is like no other year that we've seen," said Steve Bachop, of the B.C. Forest Service.

    No injuries were reported, but the fire forced officials to close a major highway. It disrupted operations on Canadian National Railway's mainline and knocked out a B.C. Hydro transmission line, officials said.

    Western Canada is struggling with one of the driest summers in several years and no major rain is expected for several days.

    Vancouver officials were worried enough to warn residents about the danger of accidentally setting the city's parks ablaze.

    And the province of Alberta has banned camping in a popular wilderness area during the long weekend holiday as 11 fires burn out of control on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

    Alberta's biggest blaze, the Lost Creek Fire that is scorching the Crowsnest Pass in the southwest, had expanded to 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) as of Friday morning, despite an army of 800 firefighters trying to hold it back.

    Amid hot weather, the fire was within 4 km (2-1/2 miles) of the town of Blairmore, which is home to about 2,000 people in the picturesque Rocky Mountain pass, now under a state of emergency.

    Residents of Blairmore and nearby Coleman, who live near a major TransCanada Corp. natural gas pipeline that runs to British Columbia from Alberta, were put on full alert for potential evacuation, officials said on Friday.

    TransCanada spokeswoman Hejdi Feick said there was no danger the gas could ignite because the export pipeline was buried underground at a minimum of 1.2 meters (4 feet).

    However, firefighters were using the line's right-of-way as a fire break, she said.

    Crews were fighting the blaze with nine water bombers, 21 helicopters and 34 bulldozers.

    Officials were concerned enough about the fire danger in the Crowsnest Pass to ban public access to a 216,000-hectare (533,000-acre) wilderness area south of Blairmore.

    Much of Western Canada saw little rainfall in July, and fire officials have warned that British Columbia's mountains are dryer than in 1998 and 1985 -- considered the province's two worst fire seasons in recent history.

    An estimated 290 fires were burning on Friday in British Columbia, which is slightly larger in area than Germany and France combined, although most of the blazes were small.



    08/01/03 16:49 ET
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  3. #3
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    Default

    B.C. government declares state of emergency after residents flee forest fire

    CP FORESTRY, POLITICS

    KAMLOOPS, B.C. (CP) - The B.C. government declared a state of emergency Friday in the Thompson-Nicola regional district, where about 3,000 people were forced from their homes by a fast-moving forest fire.

    Premier Gordon Campbell said the announcement is aimed at helping crews fighting fires in McClure, Barriere and surrounding areas, and to ensure a co-ordinated response to evacuating residents threatened by the expanding wildfire.

    The McClure Lake fire, 35 kilometres north of Kamloops, now covers 40 square kilometres, the government said in a news release.

    It has forced the evacuation of McClure and Louis Creek residents, forced the closure of a portion of Highway 5 south to Kamloops, and consumed three structures.

    The Canadian Press, 2003

    08/1/2003 17:46 EST
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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