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Highway 97 near Powder King re-opens

Pine River wildfire between Mackenzie and Chetwynd

Highway 97 between Powder King Road and Old Hasler Road is now open.

It was closed Friday as a result of the Pine River fire. This status may change depending on wildfire activity. Please check Drive BC for updates and slow down for crews working in the area.

The Pine River wildfire is exhibiting Rank 4 and rank 5 fire behaviour that resulted in significant fire growth and the fire is now estimated to be over 2,000 hectares. Structures were lost during the rapid fire growth. B.C. Wildfire Service crews, structure protection crews, and aerial resources responded to the fire yesterday. They worked through the night to deploy structure protection equipment in the area.

Saturday, crews continued to deploy structure protection along Highway 97 and continued to protect wooden power poles in the area. Crews are working to contain the fire to the north side of the highway. Minimal fire growth occurred Satury.

The Pine River wildfire is currently burning parallel to BC Hydro’s 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line right-of-way (ROW). There are three 500kV transmission lines running side by side in the right-of-way and they are part of the backbone of the provincial transmission grid. The powerlines are supported on large steel towers.

If power is lost from one area of the province, BC Hydro can reroute it through another area. For example, if power supply from the Peace region was lost, BC Hydro would increase output from their Columbia region facilities, or other stations elsewhere in the province. A visual inspection of the transmission lines was completed Saturday morning and no BC Hydro structures appear to be damaged; however, heavy smoke from the fire did reduce visibility. Another flight is planned for Sunday morning. All three 500kV transmission lines are in service at this time.

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