Richmond’s wild land fire near Westminster Highway and Shell Road is still burning as crews continue the fight to extinguish it for the fifth day.
A photo posted to Twitter by Wayne Morecombe, who is a pilot, shows just how significant the damage has been on the Department of National Defence lands, where the stubborn fire has been burning down into the peat making it a challenge to put out completely.
And as the fire suppression efforts continue, it seems some people are still trying to access the site, despite the dangerous environment.
FIRE UPDATE–9am: #RichmondBC wild land fire continues to be 100% contained. Firefighters onsite today, w/ assistance from @VanFireRescue@DFF1763 @PortMoodyFR@DNVFRS— Richmond, BC Alerts (@RichmondBCAlert) July 31, 2018
Do not enter the area: Westminster Hwy, Alderbridge Way, No4 Rd &Shell Rd – it's extremely dangerous to the public pic.twitter.com/hGaCPpbOKI
The fire is now 100 per cent contained according to the City of Richmond and, as of Monday evening, fire crews had “achieved aggressive objectives…despite difficult weather (wind & heat).”
FIRE UPDATE-5pm: Firefighters achieved aggressive objectives today despite difficult weather (wind & heat) for the wild land fire burning in #RichmondBC. This is still an active worksite & wild fire. It is 100% contained behind the fire line. DO NOT ENTER the area. #RichmondFire— Richmond, BC Alerts (@RichmondBCAlert) July 30, 2018
Fire crews were still at the smouldering scene on Tuesday morning, with Shell Road, between Westminster Highway and Alderbridge Way, still closed off.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie expressed his gratitude to the crews working to extinguish the fire on Twitter, calling it “a first rate co-ordinated effort.”
We are very grateful to all those who helped with the fire response on the DND lands. Thanks to the dedicated men and women of Richmond Fire Rescue together with provincial fire crews, rcmp, air crews and other first responders. A first rate co-ordinated effort. https://t.co/SZwqEv8OUI— Malcolm Brodie (@malcolmbrodie) July 28, 2018
It’s estimated that fire crews will be on the site for the rest of the week, at the very least, with assistance coming in from Vancouver, Delta and Port Moody crews.
Multiple aircrafts dumping water, military personnel, RCMP, Fire-Rescue and excavators have all been on scene at various points to help combat the blaze which on-the-ground crews described as “stubborn,” particularly due to its hard-to-reach location.
On Friday, City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend told the Richmond News the fire in the forested, southeast corner of DND property. Townsend explained that smoke could be smelled overnight on Thursday, but the fire could not be located. Fire crews found the fire around 6:30 a.m. on Friday.
“It’s in quite an isolated area. It’s about 1,000 feet away from the closest road and there’s no trails going into where the fire is located,” Townsend said. “So it was difficult to locate and it's very difficult to fight.”
Another significant barrier has been the fact that the fire is not close to any water source, so crews have had to run “fairly lengthy hose” to get water to the fire and have had to cut their path to get to it.
Fire Chief Tim Wilkinson explained that this has been a “technical fire.”
“(It) will likely be a multi-day event,” Wilkinson said in a press release.
“Those downwind will experience smoke and ash and I urge you to keep windows closed, HVAC systems running, and those vulnerable with health issues should stay indoors out of the smoke.”