The introduction of warm water into the Nechako River channel appeared to be having the desired effect on the ice jam at the confluence of the Nechako and Fraser rivers Wednesday.
The ice jam appears to be smaller than it was last week at this time, when the warm water system was activated. The system involves pumping water from the steam plant at Canfor’s Intercon pulp mill to the river’s edge, where it is mixed with colder water and the temperature lowered to just below 15 degrees C.
The system pumps about 9,000 gallons of the warm water into the channel per minute. The base of the jam, which extends several hundred metres into the Nechako channel from the confluence, appears to have been reduced by between 150 and 200 metres since last week.
Warm weather has also helped keep the river open. While there is ice on the Nechako 33 kilometres from its confluence with the Fraser to outside the city limits of Prince George, there is also an open channel extending seven kilometres from just downstream of the warm water pipe up to Stevens Drive.
The upstream ice on the Nechako continues to be regular winter freeze-over and is not jammed, with several open channels on the river west of Prince George.
Emergency officials continue to urge people to stay away from the Nechako River, as it remains subject to rapidly rising and falling water levels and unpredictable surges of water.
Ice jam and flood information and photos are available for viewing on the City of Prince George website at www.city.pg.bc.ca