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856 power poles replaced, electricity restored in wildfire-ravaged B.C. communities

BC Hydro shared this photo on Twitter, showing crews repairing damage from wildfires. BC Hydro shared this photo on Twitter, showing crews repairing damage from wildfires.

Hydro crews have been hard at work replacing power poles and lines in the weeks since two of B.C.'s most destructive wildfires left a trail of damaged electrical infrastructure in their wake, according to the utility.

On Thursday, BC Hydro provided an update detailing what it has taken to restore power to the vast majority of the thousands of impacted properties.

More than 150 workers have been involved in efforts in the Shuswap to repair the damage from the Bush Creek East wildfire where 4,000 customers lost power, according to BC Hydro. In total, 430 poles have been replaced, along with 52 other pieces of equipment and 22 kilometres of power lines.

"In addition to replacing the damaged infrastructure, they also participated alongside first responders and BC Wildfire Services in an extensive clean-up effort to remove debris and vegetation from the impacted areas," the update from the utility says.

In the Okanagan, more than 125 workers were deployed to repair the damage from the MacDougall Creek wildfire. That blaze resulted in 1,200 customers losing power and in order to restore it, 426 poles had to be replaced, along with 66 pieces of equipment and 27 kilometres of power lines, the update says.

"BC Hydro would like to extend a huge thank you to the community who has been so patient and supportive as crews have replaced the infrastructure to restore power," the utility says.

Both fires spread incredibly quickly in mid-August, forcing thousands to flee with little-to-no notice. The ensuing power failures meant food was left to rot in fridges and freezers, prompting warnings about wildlife scavenging evacuated properties.

While many have returned, both areas have seen hundreds of structures damaged or completely destroyed. Those who have been able to return home were warned that their communities had been transformed by the destruction the fires wrought.

BC Hydro is also reminding evacuees that they are eligible for a credit on their bill for electricity use, if the evacuation order was in effect for five days or longer. Top Stories

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