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Burns Bog fire 60% contained

Last Updated Jul 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm PDT

The Burns Bog fire (July 5, 2016) (Darren Grieve, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Highway 17 still closed between Highways 99 and 91 due to the Burns Bog fire

Crews hoping to have the Burns Bog fire fully contained by tonight

DELTA (NEWS 1130) – Fire crews have made more progress on the fire at Burns Bog. The blaze is now 60 per cent contained.

Crews expect the 78-hectare fire will be fully contained by tonight. However, they believe it will take up to a week to ensure the containment remains secure.

There are 80 local firefighters still fighting the blaze. The fire is only on the surface, which means we won’t have to worry about tricky underground burning for months on end.

There’s still no word on how the fire started. Officials think it could take weeks to determine the cause, however it’s not believed to be weather-related. Delta fire investigators have arrived to try and find the cause of the blaze.

Structural engineers are assessing the damage to the set of radio towers and BC Hydro removed has removed several fire-damaged power poles along 80th Street. Power in that immediate area was cut off as a precaution when the fire began and has yet to be restored.

Now that the fire is slowly coming under control, Mayor Lois Jackson says the focus is turning to the future and how to keep people out of the bog. “One thing we do not want to have happen is have people in the bog. Usually, where people go, you can find fire.”

Highway 17 remains closed between Highway 99 and Highway 91 with a possible re-opening on Friday.

Delta is still in a local state of emergency so crews can access private property to help them fight the fire.

Meanwhile, things are starting to get back to normal for businesses in the area, after the fire forced many of them to shut down yesterday because they were too close to the front lines.

The evacuation order has been lifted at Tilbury Industrial Park. That means employees at those businesses no longer have to worry and can go back to work. Dean Pomeroy manages a Fountain Tire in the area.

“It is devastating, financially,” he tells us. “And a lot of customers didn’t realize we were closed and [they were] phoning, wondering what’s going on.”

Delta Fire Chief Dan Copeland says they dodged a bullet by keeping the fire away from the Tilbury Industrual Park. “That was our biggest fear Sunday evening, when thefire did jump the road. That could have been significant… it was a high-risk area with the lumber mill there. We had chemicals storage there.”

Customers called the company’s head office, too, and even showed up — along with a few employees without knowing it was closed.

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At times, the smell of smoke is still quite strong in Delta, depending on the wind. You can see the smoke rising up into the cloud cover.

Last night’s rain was welcomed by crews battling the fire. It wasn’t exactly a downpour last night, but every little bit of precipitation helps.

NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Russ Lacate expects firefighters will get a little more help from Mother Nature today.

“It remains on the cool side, and I think clouds and showers will show up mid-morning, lasting through lunchtime and into the early part of the afternoon. As they taper off, we’ll get a glimmer of daylight later today.”

“It’s only a few millimetres worth of rain for the Burns Bog area today, whereas east of there into the Fraser Valley and a number of areas around the mountains could see five, 10, maybe 15 millimetres of rain — some really heavy downpours later today,” he adds.

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