A charred utility pole in the Cariboo. (BC Hydro)

EMBC to deliver satellite phones to wildfire-affected areas

Agency warns that regular communications could go down

A Cariboo communications tower, which provides landline telephones and internet, cellphone, and data services to a large area from Riske Creek to Bella Coola, has not been damaged by the flames.

The BC Hydro pole, which is shared by Telus, “has been at risk for some time,” said Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner. “I know BC Wildfire has been prioritizing suppression efforts to make sure it’s not damaged.”

RELATED: White Lake fire gives city a break, for now

Telus spokesperson Liz Sauve confirmed that the company has not lost any infrastructure due to the wildfires.

“In some areas where power was cut off, we were able to keep cell towers running on generator, and our crews would go in and refuel the generators when safe, generally accompanied by emergency response crews,” Sauve said. “In the Ashcroft-Cache Creek corridor, we had some lines burned, but were able to restore those as soon as it was safe and they are now back up and running in advance of evacuees returning home.”

VIDEO: Anaham residents find strength in fighting fires

If the Riske Creek utility pole was damaged, EMBC is prepared to offer alternate communication to the affected residents. The BC Wildfire Service is planning to drop off 5-6 satellite phones in First Nation communities along Hwy. 20 on Tuesday. Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District will also receive one satellite phone each.

But despite the province’s efforts to save the communications tower, Turner warned people to be prepared for the worst.

“People who are in that area need to be aware that they could lose this service,” he said. “That may include going to the bank machine to ensure you have cash, gas stations to make sure you have fuel but also let people let outside the area know that if this happens, they may not be able to reach you.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Twenty-two percent of Bella Coola residents rely on Food Bank

Demand for Christmas Hampers up by 45 families this year

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Verdict to be delivered December 15 for three on trial in Anahim murders

The fates of Christian Craciun, Andrew Jongbloets, and Serena Rhem (Mack) will be decided on December 15 at 10am.

‘I fell asleep’ admits second mate in Nathan E. Stewart fuel spill

The tug spilled more than 100,000 litres of diesel off B.C.’s northern coast

Northwest’s new MRI hits milestone

Stakeholders celebrate 500th scan of diagnostic imaging device

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

The top-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

Which show did you cheat on your spouse with by watching ahead?

Most Read