Stories & features

Wildfires force evacuations, cause series of outages

Photo from July 2017 wildfire shows a burned power pole and a charred landscape with smoky haze in the background
A toppled BC Hydro power pole is at the centre of a photo, taken by one of our power line technicians, of a charred landscape near Cache Creek.

BC Hydro crews working closely with emergency officials battling wildfires

Updated July 24, 2017

Continued wildfires through the Central and Southern Interior regions are creating challenging conditions for B.C.'s firefighters, and for BC Hydro crews.

Repairs to equipment have been ongoing to restore power to affected customers across the Interior. There are a few areas within the evacuation zones experiencing outages, including about 300 customers out of power in Loon Lake, and fewer than five customers in 100 Mile House off of Tatton Road. Although repairs are complete in Spokin Lake, 110 customers remain without power while firefighting crews continue to work in this area.

To help our customers, we've implemented a Wildfire Evacuee Assistance Program, offering bill credits and flexible payment plans to support residential and commercial customers affected by evacuation orders and alerts.
 
We're continuing to work closely with Emergency Management BC and fire officials, accompanying them into affected areas so we can isolate power lines for the firefighting crews.

Crews have completed repairs on the transmission system, which included rebuilding eleven transmission structures in the Cache Creek area which were damaged by the wildfire. These repairs will strengthen our system and increase contingency as the Cache Creek evacuation order is lifted and customers return home.

All work that can be done is complete for the 100 Mile House area and crews are estimating work in the Loon Lake area to be completed by Wednesday evening.

As we gain access to new areas and determine the repairs required, individual restoration times will vary as damage is assessed. Updates will be provided as they become available.

Get outages information by map or by list on bchydro.com, or @bchydro on Twitter.   

Firefighter next to a burning stand of trees
A BC Wildfire Service worker stands alongside a burning stand of trees in the Cariboo. The hot, dry weather has led to at least 200 new wildfires in the last two weeks.

Returning home and food safety

We've received questions from communities and customers regarding the safety of food in fridges and freezers after possible power outages. Unfortunately, due to the extent of the damage to our infrastructure, we're unable to determine with absolute certainty if an individual customer's power was out, how long it was out for, or if a household experienced more than one outage. You may be able to determine if your home lost power by looking at clocks on kitchen appliances.

The health and safety of customers is paramount. We recommend customers refer to Health Canada guidelines when determining the safety of your food. Interior Health has also issued some guidelines regarding food safety for residents who are returning home. 

How you can help

While dry lightning has been the source of several fires, human activity — including discarded cigarettes — is also to blame.

Campfire bans are now in effect in all regions of the province. Please check the BC Wildfire Service bans and restrictions page.

Report wildfires to *5555 on a cell or 1 800 663 5555 toll-free. The BC Wildfire Service provides regular wildfire updates.