Vehicles, propane tanks burning at wildfire west of Merritt

Cars, propane tanks burn

UPDATE: 5 p.m.

Firefighters are dealing with burning vehicles, propane tanks and other unidentified objects at the wildfire west of Merritt.

“If it's a lot of dark, thick, black smoke coming up it typically means something non-vegetative is burning,” said Nicole Bennett, BC Wildfire Service fire information officer.

“So there's places where we can't get in close enough to fully identify what is actually burning, but there are things like vehicles and propane tanks and things like that.”

Bonnett said while the fire is burning these types of objects, the fire is not currently threatening buildings.

“It is relatively close to communities,” she said. “Areas where there are obviously materials that have been either left behind intentionally or not, I don't know.”

BCWS firefighters typically battle fires in forested areas, so the hazardous, non-vegetative burning materials are causing some additional challenges in the fire fight.

“From a hazardous smoke, and then depending on what it is, propane tanks and things exploding, that obviously has shrapnel, flying parts associated with it,” Bonnett said. “When you can't fully identify what the materials are, if they are pressurized and they're not venting as they heat up and expand, then they explode.

“It's dangerous to get close to something if you don't have that training and you don't have the appropriate PPE and you can't do a proper assessment of it. So we're just steering clear of those areas.”

According to the BCWS website, the 3.3-hectare fire was listed as “held” as of Wednesday afternoon, meaning it's not expected to spread beyond predetermined boundaries. The fire is believed to be human caused.

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

Firefighters are dealing with hazardous burning materials at the wildfire west of Merritt Wednesday.

The Petit Creek wildfire continues to burn out of control about 16 kilometres west of Merritt, at a size of about 3.3 hectares. As of Wednesday, 16 firefighters are on site, along with a water tender.

But in a social media post Wednesday afternoon, the BC Wildfire Service says crews are dealing with more than just forest fuels.

“In addition to forest fuels that wildland firefighters work with regularly, there are also combustible, non-vegetative materials burning within this fire perimeter. These additional combustible materials are hazardous to the health and safety of responders,” the BCWS says.

“As a result, BC Wildfire Service consulted with the local fire department to determine which areas of the fire are safe to action at this time.

“Crews have completed danger tree assessment and danger tree falling and have been constructing hand guard along areas of the fire perimeter where they can work safely, avoiding hazardous smoke and shrapnel from exploding materials. Crews on site will continue to monitor the areas where direct suppression tactics are unsafe.”

UPDATE: 10:52 p.m.

A wildfire burning west of Merritt has grown to more than three hectares in size, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The small blaze was discovered on Tuesday evening in the Petit Creek area north of Canford.

The fire is still listed as out of control, but no structures are believed to be threatened.


A small wildfire was reported west of Merritt late Tuesday.

The BC Wildfire Service says the fire is located about 3 kilometres east of Petit Creek. As of 9:18 p.m. it was listed as out of control but was less than one hectare in size.

The human caused fire was discovered around 5:45 p.m.

There are no evacuation notices or area restrictions related to the fire.

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