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Significant progress made fighting Burns Bog fire; 60% contained

  • Fire is estimated to be 78 hectares in size.
  • It is now 50 per cent contained.
  • Road closures remain in effect today and will likely last until Friday.
Click to play video 'Burns Bog fire could be contained Tuesday' Burns Bog fire could be contained Tuesday
Crews in Delta expect to have the Burns Bog fire fully contained by the end of the day. But as Grace Ke reports, it'll be a while yet before a major highway in the area is reopened – Jul 5, 2016

With help from the weather on Monday and overnight, the Burns Bog fire in Delta, B.C. has stopped spreading and is now 60 per cent contained.

It is hoped it will be 100 per cent contained by Tuesday night.

The latest estimates show the fire is approximately 78 hectares in size. Officials say the fire did not penetrate the peat line, which would allow it to burn underground.

Highway 17, between Highway 99 and the Highway 91 Connector, will remain closed until at least Friday due to the smoke created from the fire, said Delta Fire Chief Douglas Copeland. A business park near the Burns Bog fire was partially evacuated but the order was lifted Monday at 8 p.m.

Shortly before noon on Sunday, fire crews were called to fight the fast growing brush fire that sparked in the bog along Highway 17.

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READ MORE: Burns Bog fire: How bog fires burn and why they’re difficult to combat

It was first reported as a small brush fire measuring roughly 100 square feet, but hot and gusting winds soon whipped the blaze into a much bigger threat.

The towering column of smoke could be seen several kilometres away from the heart of the fire on Sunday.

The blaze had leapt across Highway 17 by mid-afternoon Sunday, igniting grass near businesses in Tilbury Park.

Delta Fire Chief Douglas Copeland said in a press conference Tuesday that the Burns Bog fire has stopped spreading 
Click to play video '‘No new growth’: Delta fire chief on Burns Bog situation' ‘No new growth’: Delta fire chief on Burns Bog situation
‘No new growth’: Delta fire chief on Burns Bog situation – Jul 5, 2016

As of midnight Sunday, the evacuation order was scaled back on Progress Way between 76 to 80 Street, including approximately 25 businesses.

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The Fraser River was also temporarily closed to marine traffic Sunday so airtankers could collect water.

There is no word yet on the cause of the blaze, but officials do not believe it was caused by lightning.

Burns Bog is one of North America’s largest peat bogs and it poses a challenge to firefighters because the flames can sink under the dry peat, where they will burn out of sight.

Burns Bog Fire Map

Burns-Bog-Fire-Map

READ MORE: If history is any guide, Burns Bog fire could be active for days

A Delta firefighter was hospitalized Sunday afternoon due to a medical condition aggravated by the environment at the scene of the fire. He is in Royal Columbian Hospital at this time but his current condition is unknown.

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Provincial crews, including about 26 firefighters, five air tankers and four helicopters, were called in to help fight the blaze. Other departments from across Metro Vancouver also provided backup as the flames spread.

Firefighter sent to hospital as a result of Burns Bog fire:

Click to play video 'Firefighter sent to hospital as a result of Burns Bog fire' Firefighter sent to hospital as a result of Burns Bog fire
Firefighter sent to hospital as a result of Burns Bog fire – Jul 4, 2016

No air quality advisory issued

Smoke from the fire could be smelled across the Lower Mainland Monday, with Vancouver and the North Shore getting the worse of it.

Metro Vancouver says it is monitoring the situation closely but at the moment it is not going to issue an air quality advisory.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said the highest concentration of particles per million in the air was 2.5, between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight on Monday. “These were intermittent. The conditions overnight have improved and Metro Vancouver’s [particles per million] 2.5 objective is based on a 24 average concentration of 25 micrograms per cubic metres,” said Jackson. “So they’re monitoring this very closely but there’s no general advisory at this time from Metro Vancouver.”
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But many people took to Twitter to complain about being awoken by the smoke.

Metro Vancouver says if you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheeze, follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Seeking shelter indoors may offer relief from air pollution.

Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.
Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.
Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.
Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.
The Burns Bog fire from the air.
The Burns Bog fire from the air.
Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.
Crews are battling a fire in Burns Bog.
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A fire has broken out near Burns Bog.
A fire has broken out near Burns Bog.

The fire also knocked out radio transmitter towers in the area, including those for AM730.

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The all-traffic station was taken off the air Sunday afternoon but you can still listen live on HD Radio 101.1 FM, sub-channel 3 in downtown Vancouver only, and online at am730traffic.ca.

Burns Bog fire map

-With files from The Canadian Press