Bob Marsh This photo, taken Tuesday in the fire’s interior, shows a “dirty burn” that leaves behind dangerous trees and the potential for flare-ups.

Princeton fire 90 per cent contained

“We are hoping to have 100 per cent containment by the weekend”

Princeton’s forest fire is 90 per cent contained as of Friday morning, and crews are hopeful for complete containment in the next couple of days.

“We are hoping to have 100 per cent containment by the weekend,” said Brent Zbaraschuk, information officer onsite for Wildfire BC. “That’s what we are shooting for.”

Containment is defined as: “The completion of a control line around a fire and any associated spot fires which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread.”

The fire started 14 days ago and is measured at 3,278 hectares.

There were some tense moments yesterday when trees on Summers Creeks Road fell down the hill and sparked new flames, said Zbaraschuk.

“One of the things that we are running into with the heavy wind event yesterday, and it shows us that there is still a threat for ignition, is we had a couple of trees come down. They were the bigger ones and they rolled and they ignited the bush on fire again,” he said.

“We had a quick response and we put those flare-ups out, but that is one of the reasons we need a good assessment on dangerous trees on both [Highway] 5A and Summers Creek Road.”

There are 303 properties in that area still under evacuation order.

According to Wildfire BC’s glossary a dangerous tree is: “a live or dead tree whose trunk, root system or branches have deteriorated or been damaged to such an extent as to be a potential danger to human safety.”

According to Zbaraschuk approximately 60 per cent of the fire zone remains unburned and there are trees “just full” of the potential to cause flare-ups.

“There is still fuel to burn.”

He likened the firefighting strategy to “strangling” the blaze, and said crews are working their way towards the center of the fire zone.

“We are in there now. We are about 200 feet in from the perimeter line so what we are doing is knocking down dangerous trees,” said Zbaraschuk.

“If you put your fingers around a garden hose and you keep trying to squeeze it and you squeeze it right to the middle, the water stops. That’s how we put fires out.”

There are 168 firefighters deployed on the Princeton fire today, and 8 helicopters.