A helicopter draws water from Harrison Lake with the smoky haze of the Wood Lake Wildfire shown behind.

Wood Lake Wildfire 80 per cent contained

Crews still face tough terrain at north end of fire

The Wood Lake Wildfire continues to burn on the west side of Harrison Lake. But as of Tuesday, Aug. 18, the 1,370 hectare blaze was estimated to be 80 per cent contained. Crews were mopping up to 100 feet on the north flank and patrolling on the west flank.

“Things seem to be going well,” says Marg Drysdale, fire information officer. “But it continues to be difficult on the north end of the fire.”

She says the terrain has proven to be quite challenging and specialized rappel crews have been used to reach the hard-to-access slopes.

As of Tuesday, there were 81 firefighters, one helicopter and 17 personnel supporting the fire.  Drysdale says the number of firefighters are down this week based on what is needed on scene now and is not a reflection of fires burning elsewhere.

“Too many firefighters on a fire is not always a good thing,” says Drysdale. “We have an Incident Command System (ICS), to see how many people we need” for the various tasks involved in a specific fire.

There was expected to be strong winds tonight (August 20) so fire officials are keeping a close eye on the fire and the forecast.

On Monday, the closure on the Sts’ailes Forest Service Road was moved from the 0 km mark to the 0/5 km mark just past Grace Lake. Grace Lake and Wolf Lake Recreation Sites are now open. All other current area closures and road closures remain in effect.

The wildfire was first discovered Sunday, August 2 and is suspected to be human-caused. It grew rapidly in the first few days due to strong winds.