A wildfire that has been raging for two weeks south of Prince George, B.C., has now been fully contained, but a secondary danger remains.
Officials say the fire that scorched 250 square kilometres has burned deep into the forest floor, weakening the root systems of trees and endangering anyone who travels in the area.
Fire information officer Erin Catherall said officials are asking users to stay out of the area while dangerous trees are assessed. Bobtail Mountain Provincial Park and Dahl Lake Provincial Park have been closed because of the nearby fire.
“We’re really encouraging recreationalists just to stay out of the fire vicinity while we’re here,” said Catherall. “We have heavy operational activities going on, crews are removing danger trees.”
She couldn’t say how many trees would need to be cut down.
An evacuation order was lifted Sunday night for some residents, but the order to stay out remains for about 80 people whose homes are still at risk of being scorched.
Over 200 ground crew, heavy equipment and helicopters are still working to put out the fire, but their efforts are being assisted by cooler and wet weather, Catherall said in an interview on Monday.
Up to 12 millimetres of rain fell in the fire area on Sunday night.
“We are very happy to have the associated rain — it definitely helps with suppression efforts,” she said. “But the success also comes, too, from the boots on the ground.”
While the weather is helping tame fires in central B.C., Catherall said it’s still extremely dry in many parts of northern B.C., especially the northeast corner of the province.