British Columbia: Little Bobtail Lake Fire causes evacuations southwest of Prince George

(UPDATED at 1:40 p.m. MDT, May 19, 2015)

Little Bobtail Fire
The Little Bobtail Lake Fire. Photo provided by the British Columbia Wildfire Management Branch, May 15, 2015.

We don’t usually put too much confidence in the containment percentages government personnel assign to wildfires, since sometimes it is extremely subjective and not always based on reality, but as the Little Bobtail Lake Fire southwest of Prince George, British Columbia continues to grow, the containment percentage decreased today from 20 percent to 15 percent. The blaze has now blackened 25,000 hectares, or 62,000 acres.

Winds Tuesday afternoon could include gusts up to 40 km per hour. After a small amount of rain on portions of the fire on Monday, a drying trend is in the forecast.

Resources working the fire include 315 firefighters, 12 helicopters, 32 heavy equipment, and 8 air tankers.

(UPDATED at 2:10 p.m. MDT, May 17, 2015)

Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Little Bobtail Lake Fire. Branch of Wildland Fire photo.

Due to strong winds with gusts of up to 35 km/hr, fire activity increased on the Little Bobtail Lake wildfire on Saturday. Growth was experienced along the northwest, southwest, and southeast flanks. Aircraft are supporting ground crews in trying to gain control of this most recent activity. The fire is moving away from the Cluculz Lake and HWY 16 area.

The fire has burned an estimated 24,000 hectares (59,000 acres). Satellite photos showed a very large plume of smoke being transported to the southwest.

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(UPDATED at 9:10 p.m. MDT, May 15, 2015)

Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Little Bobtail Lake Fire. Photo credit: BC Wildfire Management Branch.

The Little Bobtail Lake Fire southwest of Prince George, B.C. has now burned 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres). Yesterday it was mapped at 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres). There are 190 personnel now, and 60 more will be added today.

There are also 8 helicopters, 8 air tankers, and 22 pieces of heavy equipment working the fire. Some of the helicopters are bucketing and others are serving as administrative air support. There is a total of six Air Tractor 802 scooping air tankers as well as two Electra airtankers working to cool down fire activity on several flanks of the fire.

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(UPDATED at 8:40 p.m. MDT, May 14, 2015)

Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Little Bobtail Lake Fire. Photo provided by BC Wildfire Management Branch. (click to enlarge)

The Wildfire Management Branch reported at 1 p.m. today that the Little Bobtail Lake Fire 25 miles southwest of Prince George is growing rapidly and has burned 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres). Yesterday it was mapped at 8,000 hectares (19,700 acres) and had tripled in size in the previous two days.

Not much additional information is available, except for the map below, and the list of firefighting resources working the fire: 170 firefighters, 8 helicopters, 10 heavy equipment, and 4 airtankers.

map Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Little Bobtail Lake Fire map May 14, 2015. NASA image. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite on May 14, 2015. (click to enlarge)

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(UPDATED at 8:25 a.m. MDT, May 14, 2015)

Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Little Bobtail Lake Fire. B.C. Wildfire Management Branch photo.

Wednesday night at 10 p.m. the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch provided the following information about the Little Bobtail Lake Fire 25 miles southwest of Prince George:

Fire suppression personnel made good progress on the Little Bobtail Lake wildfire today. Fire behaviour on this fire displayed a decrease in intensity, in comparison to fire activity experienced yesterday. This was partly due to lighter winds in addition to a shade effect from cloud cover and smoke. Ground crews were supported by 10 pieces of heavy equipment, six helicopters, and four airtankers.

Four Air Tractor AT-802F Fire Boss amphibious aircraft worked on various flanks of the fire, to control the rate of spread. Contingency lines are being established northwest of Norman Lake. Another control line is being established along the northern flank of Big Bobtail Lake.

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(UPDATED at 5:20 p.m. MDT, May 13, 2015)

Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Little Bobtail Lake Fire. Photo by B.C. Wildfire Management Branch.

The Little Bobtail Lake Fire 25 miles southwest of Prince George, British Columbia has grown to 8,000 hectares (19,700 acres), and tripled in size the last two days. The fire has been very active on the south and west perimeters, reaching Eulatazella Lake, also known as Graveyard Lake.

The evacuation order is still in effect, affecting about 80 people.

Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Little Bobtail Lake Fire. Photo by B.C. Wildfire Management Branch.

B.C. Parks has closed Dahl Lake Provincial Park and Bobtail Mountain Provincial Park to all recreational users and has ordered the evacuation of any users within the park.

Little Bobtail Lake Fire
Map showing the location of the Little Bobtail Lake Fire 33 miles southwest of Prince George, B.C. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite on May 12, 2015.

Resources assigned to the fire include 120 firefighters, 6 helicopters, and 8 pieces of heavy equipment. Air tankers worked the fire Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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(Originally published at 9:28 a.m. MDT, May 11, 2015)

Little Bobtail Lake Fire map May 10, 2015
Map showing the location of the Little Bobtail Lake Fire 33 miles southwest of Prince George, B.C. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite on May 10, 2015. NASA photo.

An evacuation alert affecting about 80 people has been issued for the Norman Lake area near the Bobtail Lake Fire in British Columbia. The fire, 33 miles southwest of Prince George, was discovered Saturday and by 10 p.m. Sunday had grown to about 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres). It continued to spread Sunday night but a new size estimate is not available, due to dense smoke making it difficult to assess the fire from the air.

About 164 properties, including many recreational cabins, are affected by the evacuation orders.

It is being fought by air tankers, as well as 26 firefighters, 2 helicopters, and 5 pieces of heavy equipment. An Incident Management Team has been requested along with additional resources.

Evacuation information for the Bobtail Lake Fire.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

One thought on “British Columbia: Little Bobtail Lake Fire causes evacuations southwest of Prince George”

  1. Here is an online map showing the Little Bobtail Lake fire.

    http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=53.731247,-123.515167&z=11&t=t5,Current_fire&q=http://www.propertylinemaps.com/p/public_land_map/Canada/BC/CA_BC_wildland_fire.txt

    This map lets you turn on/off various layers of GIS (Geographical Information System) data. The available data overlay layers include: fire perimeter, wind, rain, humidity and more. Available basemaps include vector topographic (displayed when the map opens), British Columbia and the standard Google basemaps.

    The GIS data that you can view on this map is maintained and hosted by provincial and national governmental agencies. Each time that you open the map you see the most recent data that has been loaded onto the GIS servers. You can click on most GIS symbols and a popup will appear that displays all the attribute data the GIS server has for the thing that you clicked.

    After a map opens, you can click “about this map” in the upper left corner to:
    1. See the map legends
    2. Learn how to turn other GIS layers on/off
    3. Get other tips for using the map

    The map is displayed by Gmap4 which is an enhanced Google map viewer. I am the developer of this browser app and provide it as a public service.

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