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Crews Work to Contain Wildfire in Northeast British Columbia

Firefighting crews in British Columbia worked to contain a wildfire near Fort Saint John on Thursday, May 18.

In this footage released by the British Columbia Wildfire Service, crews can be seen using saws to chop down small trees and then dousing the earth with water, in what the agency called a “direct attack” strategy. “Direct Attack is a method used when fire intensity is low and crews can safely engage with the edge of a fire,” they said.

The crews were trying to contain the Stoddart Creek fire, which is burning about 21,455 hectares (82 square miles), the service said.

The fires in Stoddart Creek and nearby Red Creek prompted officials to issue evacuation orders for more than 10 communities in the area, local government said. On Tuesday, three of those evacuation orders had been downgraded to alerts.

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Smoke from Stoddart Creek was so thick on Thursday that helicopters had to be grounded due to the low visibility, local news reported. Credit: BC Wildfire Service via Storyful

Video transcript

- My name is Joel. I'm on the Rhino Unit Crew. We're working on that Stoddart Creek Fire and we're just working on the east side of the highway, on the south side of the fire. So there's a pocket of fuel just off of a guard that we have planted and this pocket's not very good burning. So the crews are cutting a trail as tight to the block as they can, and then they're hosing out behind that cut, and basically doing a good 5-foot along the edge just to make sure that this fire doesn't advance over the next few hours. And then the goal is to get a little bit thicker of an edge put on later. We have saw teams just cutting a trail on both sides of our green pocket of fuel and then hose team following from behind the sawyers.

My name is Joel. I'm on the Rhino Unit Crew. We're working on that Stoddart Creek Fire and we're just working on the east side of the highway, on the south side of the fire. So there's a pocket of fuel just off of a guard that we have planted and this pocket's not very good burning. So the crews are cutting a trail as tight to the block as they can, and then they're hosing out behind that cut, and basically doing a good 5-foot along the edge just to make sure that this fire doesn't advance over the next few hours. And then the goal is to get a little bit thicker of an edge put on later. We have saw teams just cutting a trail on both sides of our green pocket of fuel and then hose steam following from behind the sawyers.