Telegraph Creek Wildfire Recovery Newsletter – April 9, 2019

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APRIL 9, 2019

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  • Updates and current recovery efforts since last newsletter
  • What’s being done in your community?
  • Upcoming recovery dates
  • Contact Information for Recovery Manager

Author: Derek Ingram – Telegraph Creek Wildfire Recovery Manager

Updates and Current Recovery Efforts

Updating the Tahltan Emergency Plan

Tahltan Band Council has an Emergency Response Plan dated 2012 and it is currently being reviewed and revised by administrative staff. The plan will be updated to incorporate lessons learned from last year’s wildfire and include best practices and frameworks to address different kinds of emergencies. The Tahltan Band is assembling an Emergency Management Plan Team, their duties will include working with First Nations Emergency Services Society to prepare the community for any emergencies that may arise.

Ministry of Transportation Updates – Highway 51

Sandi Griffith from Ministry of Transportation has followed-up on previous discussions regarding ongoing monitoring of the Telegraph Creek road.  MOTI geotechnical staff will be conducting geotechnical surveys along the Highway 51 corridor this week to assess post wildfire conditions. This is part of their continuing monitoring program. The monitoring team will conduct survey work, which may include them hiking the drainages and ridges, several hundred meters up slopes and downhills from the highway. We expect the team to be on site April 1 to April 4, 2019.  The teams’ work will focus on MOTI infrastructure; however, if any specific issues or concerns are identified, they will notify the band office.

Sandi Griffith of Ministry of Transportation ask that the community members from Telegraph Creek to contact her if they observe any changes in the road or slopes to the road. 

Sandi Griffith: District Operations Manager – SA28 Bulkley-Stikine

Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure Phone (250) 771-4511


Identifying Hot Spots burning in Telegraph Creek Area

On Tuesday April 2, 2019 BC Forestry Service flew the Alkali Lake Fire, focusing on the area around the town of Telegraph Creek. Shana Dennis, Band Manager accompanied them on the flight. There were two hot spots identified; one up the Mess Creek Valley and one in the Hooster Lake meadows above the lava beds. The visible smoke in the area is from these two locations. Forestry will be monitoring the area bi-weekly. If you see a wildfire, please report it to Report a wildfire:1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cell Fire information line: 1 888 336-7378 Burn registration line: 1 888 797-1717.

hot spots

Mess Creek Valley

Recovery project completed

Forest Land Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) and TNDC successfully concluded the contract to lay grass seed down within the Telegraph Creek watershed to assist with erosion control as well as sediment and ash migration into the watercourse during this year’s freshet.  Approximately 60 hectares of the Telegraph Creek watershed upstream of the highway bridge was grass seeded (this equates to ~6 kilometers long by 100 meters wide).  The intention is for FLNRORD staff to re-assess the watershed post freshet.

Recovery Questions from Telegraph Creek community

In both the Telegraph Creek February 27th and Dease Lake March 1st Band meetings and the Comprehensive Community Planning sessions March 26 and 27th I heard the following concerns from the community:

Question: What is happening with the current hot spots burning in territory. This is a major concern for the community. The community worries that these fires could ignite into a larger fire.

Answer: I had conversation with Regional District manager Rick Boehm about this concern and he contacted BCWFS about the Hot Spot issue. BCWFS will start flying the area to identify the hot spots as weather permits with the intention to fully extinguish the priority areas no later than April.

BCWFS has now as of Late March have done a fly over the burn area and identified hotspots that are currently burning. A plan is being coordinated currently to get a ground crew mobilized to put out fires.

Question: There is questions around how the fire was dealt with initially and if the fire could have had a different outcome if it was handled differently from the beginning.

Answer: BCWS is going to have a post incident community debrief with the Telegraph Creek community to answer questions about the wildfire

We are still waiting for a date to be set. It is likely the meeting will be held in late April.

Question: What is happening to the local Cemeteries that have sustained damage from the wildfire? It is important to families to have these cemeteries rehabilitated.

Answer: Disaster Financial Assistance has allotted $15,000 for this work. TrinaAnne Gleason-Zubek will get a meeting coordinated with the families about how this project will proceed.

TrinaAnne will contact families or you can contact her via email at

TrinaAnne Gleason-Zubek is currently coordinating the 9 Mile Cemetery Rehabilitation project

Current tasks by TrinaAnne include:

  • getting in touch with a cross section of community members to get information on who is buried at 9 mile Cemetery.
  • Getting contact numbers and messaging family members of people buried at 9 Mile Cemetery.
  • Making a list of tasks that will need completed and by whom they will be completed by. (Fencing, Markers, debris clean up) Etc.

Question: Is the bog smoke harmful to human health?

Answer: I have had contact with First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) about this and they are currently connecting with Ministry of Environment and see if there will be a Mobile Testing Unit that can test the smoke and get answers for the community. It is my hope to have news for the community on this topic in the next newsletter.

I am reaching out to Red Chris Mine to see if the Tahltan Nation and Telegraph Creek community can borrow their mobile air monitor stations. There is concerns within the Telegraph Creek community regarding air quality when everything dries up and winds stir up ash.

Upcoming Environmental Assessments

Urban Systems Consultants will be coming in May to do the next round of Telegraph Creek Slope Stability and Water Quality assessments.

Future Community Planning Dates

Next round of community meetings regarding Comprehensive Community Planning is scheduled for May 1 in Dease Lake starting at 3 pm and May 2 in Telegraph Creek starting at 3 pm.

Health and Wellness Dates

  • April 5th-12th Phil and Harold Gatensby will be in Telegraph Creek, They offer Group and 1-1 Support, debriefing and traditional sweats. Contact Cynthia Asp in TC at 250-235-3211 for more information.
  • Betsy Jackson is going to be at the sewing room at the safe house April 6-13. She is bringing her patterns. She is a certified cultural educator.
  • Mariah Andrews will be in Telegraph Creek at the safe house as well doing traditional medicine gathering and making. She will be in Telegraph Creek for the month of April starting on April 8th

Unmet Needs Committee

A form was sent out on March 15th to Telegraph Creek Residents. The questionnaire is asking for specifics on something that you need as a priority for where you live. An example is a chainsaw, or a brush saw.

There is a limited amount of funds available for addressing un-met needs for the Telegraph Creek community so bigger items like quads etc. will not be considered.

Get your questionnaire in by May 15th, 2019 for consideration.

Dease Lake Fuel Management

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine in cooperation with B.C. Wildfire Service and Westland Resources will be working on a wildfire fuel management project administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) Strategic Wildfire Prevention Imitative (SWPI) Program around the community of Dease Lake this summer. The project area, which totals approximately 23 ha, is located in the wildland urban interface (WUI) surrounding the community (see the attached map for areas that will be treated). All land being treated is on Crown Land at this time due to the restrictions of the grant.

The intent of the project is to reduce crown fire initiation, fire intensity and crown fire spread to the surrounding community. Treatments may also reduce the threat of fires starting in the interface and spreading to the wildland. The location of the identified areas to be treated will provide a defensible space in strategic locations surrounding the community and were identified as high priorities in the Cassiar Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

The overall objective of the Dease Lake fuel management project is to reduce the chances of a wildfire from starting and/or reduce the intensity of wildfire if one did occur by modifying stand structure to reduce fuels available in the event of a wildfire. Any questions regarding the project, please contact Cassidee Hall at, or at 250-638-0337.

See map of treatment area:

map of area


Telegraph Creek Recovery Newsletters will be coming out every two to four weeks.


Derek Ingram – Telegraph Creek Wildfire recovery manager                                                       

Box 234  Dease Lake  BC, V0C-1L0   Phone: (250) 771-3119