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FortisBC responds to forest fires in BC Interior

Updated July 20, 1:26 pm

​​FortisBC’s first priority is to maintain the safety of the public and our employees as we closely monitor forest fires in our region and work with provincial emergency officials, local authorities and other stakeholders to determine the level of action required in each area.

So far, we are taking precautionary measures to protect our infrastructure such as deploying fire suppression materials and fire blankets around infrastructure with potential risks, brushing and clearing vegetation around infrastructure and monitoring and reviewing potential repairs to any assets that are at risk for damage. 

What you need to know:

Service interruptions

If fire or emergency officials request FortisBC to do so, we will turn off the utility service as a precautionary measure, or if there is an immediate threat to FortisBC infrastructure.

If our system is damaged, once fire or emergency officials confirm the situation is safe, FortisBC will assess the system in the affected area, repair any infrastructure damage and reactivate the affected system.

We will visit each impacted natural gas customer to relight all affected appliances and restore gas service at the meter, if required. if you are not at home, a FortisBC technician will leave a door tag that provides contact information. Call 1-877-711-8877 for relights. ​

Evacuations

The decision to evacuate or lift the evacuation order is made by local fire officials after consultation with other agencies, including FortisBC. 

If you are evacuated, leave your gas service on. If fire or emergency officials request FortisBC to do so, we will turn off the utility service as a precautionary measure, or if there is an immediate threat to FortisBC infrastructure.​

Restoring natural gas service

If gas has been turned off due to an emergency, FortisBC will first ensure the natural gas system is safe. Once complete, FortisBC crews will visit your home to relight your appliances. 

If the service valve on your natural gas meter is turned to the off position, do not turn it on. If you have concerns with the natural gas system, or if you detect the rotten egg or sulphur smell of natural gas, leave your home immediately and call the FortisBC 24-hour natural gas emergency number at 1-800-663-9911

Don't try to put natural gas appliances back in service yourself.

Do not use any gas appliances that have been damaged, until they have been thoroughly inspected by a BC Safety Authority registered gas contractor​. ​

Restoring electricity service

If electricity has been damaged by a fire, call FortisBC to have your service safely disconnected. Before restoring service, FortisBC will ensure the electricity infrastructure is safe before reconnecting power.

If your home’s electrical system, such as the wiring, electric meter or circuit breaker panel, has been damaged by the fire, BC Safety Authority registered electrician must perform a safety inspection before power can be reconnected. 

FortisBC will require an affidavit from a BC Safety Authority licensed electrician​.  ​

Call before you dig

Before doing any excavating or trenching on your property to mitigate for fire risk, contact BC One Call to get location details of natural gas lines and other underground utilities. Call at 1-800-474-6886 or click on bconecall.ca​​.

With risk of forest fire high across the province, we recommend the public also take steps to stay safe​ during fire and storm season and be prepared in the event of service outages. 

Service i​mpacts

Princeton

​This is an active fire zone and we are closely monitoring the situation and working with local authorities and stakeholders to determine the level of action required.

On July 12, we experienced damage to our lines along Summers Creek Road off Highway 5A resulting in service interruption to 199 customers. Power will remain off to these customers until we can remove hazardous trees in the area and confirm the situation is safe for the public, our customers and our crews. On July 19, FortisBC restored service to 199 customers.

We have secured additional resources for fire suppression equipment to proactively prevent damage to our assets and respond to any impacts.

As a precaution, we have turned off natural gas service to three farm taps (a farm tap is used to provide natural gas service to a rural property directly from a higher pressure line).

Any properties without service will be restored once we have contacted the property owners and determined it is safe to do so.​

West Kootenay

​This is a high risk fire area and we have added standby crews for the weekend to monitor infrastructure.

Ashcroft/Cache Creek

​This is an active fire zone and we are closely monitoring the situation and working with local authorities and stakeholders to determine the level of action required.

We have turned off natural gas service, as needed, to homes impacted by fire in the area of Boston Flats.​

As a precaution, we are clearing vegetation and applying fire retardant to natural gas infrastructure along Back Valley Rd.

100 Mile House and area

​This is an active fire zone and we are closely monitoring the situation and working with local authorities and stakeholders to determine the level of action required.

We have turned off natural gas service, as needed, to homes impacted by fire in 108 Mile House.​

Kamloops

​We are monitoring the system closely and have no immediate risks to our system.

Williams Lake / 150 Mile House

​We are monitoring the system closely and have no immediate risks to our system.

As a precaution, we are prepared to isolate a section of our natural gas line from the system at Horsefly/Spoken and Ross Rd because of the proximity to the Fox Mountain fire.

We did have minor impacts on July 7 and shut off service to five properties badly damaged by fire.

The fire at Williams Lake Airport was in proximity to our assets but did not damage our system.

Follow us on Twitter​ @FortisBC for the latest updates.

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