The Nanaimo Lakes wildfire, photographed last week. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

Lightning sparks more than 30 fires on Vancouver Island

B.C. Wildfire Service’s Coastal Fire Centre prioritizing and making decisions around resources

The rain was needed; the lightning strikes weren’t.

As a storm made its way down Vancouver Island on Saturday, more than 30 new fires were sparked, according to B.C. Wildfire Service.

Dorothy Jakobsen, fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, said 34 fires started Saturday in the region, 31 of them due to lightning and three suspected to be person-caused. She said B.C. Wildfire Service receives information about fires from tips from the public and from pilots, as well as from dedicated patrols.

“When we know there’s a lightning storm in the offing, we organize ourselves and we get up in the air and we try and get eyes on the land as soon as possible,” Jakobsen said.

With so many fires all at once, she said the Coastal Fire Centre is prioritizing and looking at where to deploy resources.

“We’re doing what we can,” she said. “Quite often a lot of these are just a tree is on fire from lightning, the crew goes out and they get it and it’s over.”

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A fire noted Saturday by B.C. Wildfire Service at Blackjack Creek west of Nanaimo was holding as of Sunday morning.

“It was a small spot fire, we responded, they caught it in time, I believe,” she said.

The area isn’t easily accessible for most vehicles, but “we are used to dealing with remote fires,” Jakobsen said. “That’s what we do, for the most part, actually … It was caught by the initial attack crew very quickly.”

Meanwhile, the Nanaimo Lakes fire reached 50 per cent containment, which represented “good progress,” she said, helped by the rain.

For more, click here.

Coastal Fire Centre said yesterday that most of the new fires on the north Island were in remote areas and the Nanaimo Lakes fire, with its proximity to residences, would remain well-resourced. To read that article, click here.

Donna MacPherson, fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, said she wanted to repeat the message that enough is enough when it comes to person-caused fires.

“We had a pretty harsh week last week and all the fires were started by people and all of them didn’t need to happen…” she said. “We need people to be extra careful.

“Although the temperatures have gone down and we’ve got a little bit of precipitation, we’re looking at the temperatures to rebound into warm and dry again next week.”

MacPherson said the forecasts don’t call for any more appreciable amounts of rain until at least Aug. 20.

“We’ve got a ways to go before summer’s done, so we need people to think carefully,” she said.

A new fire was reported near the North Taylor Arm of Sproat Lake on Saturday night, and Port Alberni Fire Department crews were dispatched to the area Sunday morning. The fire is reportedly 0.2 hectares in size, and appears to be contained. It is also suspected to be human-caused.

To read the full article, click here.

On Saturday afternoon, households near the Nanaimo Lakes fire were taken off of evacuation alert.

The Regional District of Nanaimo announced Saturday afternoon that it was rescinding an evacuation order for 77 addresses, and downgrading an evacuation order to an evacuation alert for another area closer to the Nanaimo Lakes wildfire.

B.C. Wildfire Service reported Saturday afternoon that the fire is now at 182 hectares with 40 per cent containment.

For the story, click here.

After more than 72 hours of work, firefighters were leaving Maple Mountain late Saturday afternoon, and an evacuation alert for nearby residents was lifted.

”Crews will continue to work on hot spots and monitor the area, and will continue doing so for the next week,” the Municipality of North Cowichan said in an announcement late on Saturday afternoon.

For that story, click here.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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