BC Hydro trucks wait to board a ferry at Duke Point on Sunday afternoon to help assist the wildfire situation in B.C.’s Interior. (BC Hydro photo)

BC Hydro trucks wait to board a ferry at Duke Point on Sunday afternoon to help assist the wildfire situation in B.C.’s Interior. (BC Hydro photo)

Vancouver Island hydro crews going to help with wildfire outages

A planned power outage in Lake Cowichan to get some work done on BC Hydro equipment has been cancelled as crews were pulled from the project to assist with the wildfire situation in B.C.'s Interior instead.

  • Jul. 11, 2017 10:00 a.m.

A planned power outage in Lake Cowichan to get some work done on BC Hydro equipment has been cancelled as crews were pulled from the project to assist with the wildfire situation in B.C.’s Interior instead.

The work was to affect specific customers on Darnell Road, Grosskleg Road, North Shore Road, Savoy Road and Wilson Road on July 11.

Instead more than 20 trucks with a couple of dozen Vancouver Island Hydro workers left from Duke Point bound for the Interior and they’ll be gone a week or two, according to Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott.

“There’s been hot and dry and windy weather over the past week and it’s increased the number of wildfires in B.C. and that’s led to the evacuations in several communities and power outages affecting about 7,000 customers over the past several days,” Scott said. “We’ve been actively working with Emergency Management BC and fire officials in the central and southern Interior and there’s a lot of damage to our system right now, it’s quite significant.

Scott said an initial assessment tallied 170 power poles, 93 cross arms, 90 spans of wire and 29 transformers have been damaged, “and we actually expect these numbers are going to continue to rise,” she noted.

Roughly 2,600 customers are without power in the fire zone, primarily in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

“We’re waiting for the OK from fire officials to gain access to the damaged areas…but we know it might be some time until we get clearance. What we want to do right now is make sure we’re fully prepared to respond in those areas once we’re given clearance so we’re assembling material, equipment, crews and designers and other experts that will be needed to help with the restoration work.”

Crews from the Lower Mainland as well as Vancouver Island are on the roster.

“On Sunday we sent more than 20 trucks and a couple dozen crew members from the Island,” Scott said. “They left Duke Point mid afternoon on Sunday to aid with restoration efforts and they’re expected to be away for at least the next week or two.”

She said right now it’s all hands on deck, with about 100 crews working to get the people of the central and southern Interior restored.

But fear not, citizens. If the power goes out here there are still crews on the Island to get it restored.

“There’s still enough people to deal with the regular outages here but for things like planned outages that don’t need to be done right away, we’re just going to hold off on that for now,” Scott said.

Ladysmith Chronicle