WATCH: The first significant wildfire of the season on Vancouver Island continues to burn this hour near Campbell River.
A fire that is believed to be “person caused” and broke out in an area being logged on Quinsam Coal property west of Campbell River.
The fire broke out late Wednesday afternoon and was reported to the Coastal Fire Centre at 6 p.m.
By nightfall, the flames were still spreading fast.
“It was burning in a cut block, in logging slash,” said Fire Information Officer Jeanne Larsen with the Coastal Fire Centre. “There was a small escape into a forested area nearby and that was quickly controlled.”
The 12-hectare fire is on Quinsam Coal property.
Workers were evacuated from the coal mine tunnels but several employees remained on site fighting the fire until BC Wildfire Service firefighters arrived.
“The stage of the fire right now is considered ‘out of control’ but that just means it’s not fully contained and there certainly is the possibility that it could spread again but we’re not expecting it to at this time,” added Larsen.
Two helicopters spent parts of the day bucketing water on to the fire from nearby Middle Quinsam Lake and crews are expected to be fighting the fire for at least several more days.
“The cause is believed to be person caused however the investigator hasn?t finished his job yet so he?s working on pinning it down to a specific cause,” said Larsen.
Most of the Vancouver Island is under a moderate fire risk but there are a few areas with a high fire danger rating and this fire is in one of those areas.
“We have had 29 fires to date within this fire season in the Coastal Fire Centre,” said Larsen. “The 10-year average is 16 so we are up substantially from the 10-year average and 27 of that 29 are person caused so again we urge people to be cautious.”