This morning two fires started up to the east of town.
The smaller one was near Hwy 395 near Billings. The larger one was nearer – just 3 Kilometers east of town. Rumour has it this one was started by the exhaust pipe of a truck but we have no confirmation of that as yet.
The second picture shows a closer view – still from the same vantage point.
The highway was down to single lane traffic due to the firefighting taking place adjacent to the highway. This shot was from the Grand Forks sign showing the backed up traffic.
From the vantage point of Whitehall Road these timelapse sequences were taken
Firefighting activities have been ongoing all afternoon. Water bombers have been hitting it repeatedly.
This is another timelapse covering a longer time at 7 times normal speed.
We visited the area that burned in the evening after things had quieted down quite a bit. Even though it was still far from out as many spots of open flame could be seen among the numerous smokers.
While speaking to the camera I suggested that the cost of fighting this and the other fire today might reach as high as $100,000. Then I made a very, very low guess on the cost of the 4 Jet engine Large Air Tanker of ‘over $500 / hour’. It turns out that a helicopter can bill out at $2,000 / hour and a jet like the one I saw can bill out for the princely sum of $9,500 / hour in the USA.
This caused me to do some research on the costs of these things and along the way I couldn’t help but bump in to the rising costs of fighting wildfires in BC. The data for this graph comes from a Globe and Mail article.
And after the expensive hardware has left there are still the Firefighters out there making sure it’s out and dead and no longer a threat. All of this costs a lot of money . . . and to think this can all be down to a loose exhaust system . . . or a carelessly discarded cigarette butt.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings – hopefully good news. Wish them luck and if you see any firefighters out in public let them know we appreciate all their efforts.