VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – Weekend rain didn’t make much of a difference to the wildfires burning across northern Vancouver Island.
There are currently 67 wildfires happening in the region.
“Not really,” BC Wildfire information officer Lynne Wheeler answered, when asked if the rain impacted the fire situation in any way. “We need a lot of rain to make an appreciable difference. The relative humidity has gone up which is a good thing, and the temperatures have cooled down which is also a good thing because that tends to make fire behaviour less aggressive.
“I’m sure it helped a little bit but it didn’t put any fires out.”
The long range forecast calls for more warm, dry weather.
Pinder Creek Fire, north of Zeballos
Caused by lightning, the fire is consuming roughly 260 hectares and is 20 percent contained.
Growth on this fire is mostly uphill and away from the road. There has been no spread on this fire outside the guard. Low fire behaviour was observed on Aug. 25 and control lines on the south end of the fire are holding.
A total of 37 firefighters using two helicopters, and three heavy equipment are battling the fire.
This fire has steep terrain on the back side of it, and it is burning in slash and heavy timber.
Crews continue to remove trees along the road to strengthen the control line in that area. Firefighters are working to establish guards and are working with fallers and BC Hydro to keep the road open and protect the power line. A hose line is being established along the south guard. A guard is now in place on the north flank. Helicopters are supporting suppression with bucketing along the Forest Service Road.
Gold Valley Main Fire, next to Zeballos
Twenty-one firefighters and four structural protection unit personnel (protecting homes) are battling 167-hectare fire, which is still zero contained.
An Erickson Aircrane, capable of dropping 2,000 gallons of water a day, and other helicopters are ‘bucketing’ the blaze.
“One of our concerns was the powerlines going up over the mountain,” Wheeler said. “They have them relatively secure for now. We’ve dropped retardant along those powerlines and we’ve also been bucketing there. We’re holding the line on the Zedballos side and we feel the village itself is safe.”
There are still six houses under evacuation order.
“They are at the base of the mountain and there is debris coming down the mountain, so we don’t feel that those houses are safe for them at this time,” Wheeler said.
Larry Lake Fire
There are 15 firefighters battling the 20-hectare blaze near the main road to Port Alice.
The fire is in and around powerplines that supply power to Port Alice.
“We’ve been working hard to keep those powerlines protected,” Wheeler said.
The fire is 25 percent contained and is completely guarded with break all the way around it.
There is still temporary road closures in places.
The fire near the Oclucje Reserve has grown to 123 hectares.
Crews are working to build guards on the fire and have been helicopter bucketing the fire and are now fighting it on the south flank and are monitoring the north flank.
Alice Lake Loop closures
In order to protect public safety and assist firefighting operations, two of the roads that make up the Alice Lake Loop have been temporarily closed to the public.
The Alice Lake Loop is located between Port Alice and Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island.
The Keogh Main Road is closed at the 26-kilometre mark, and the Merry Widow Main Road is closed at the 40-kilometre mark.
Recreation sites in areas affected by the Alice Lake Loop road closures have also been closed:
• Maynard Lake
• Trout Lake
• Reappearing River
• Vanishing River
• Benson Lake
• Iron Lake
For more information about the Alice Lake Loop (including a map showing the locations of these recreation sites), visit the Regional District of Mount Waddington, by clicking here.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free, or *5555 on a cellphone.
For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, click here.
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