31 active wildfires on Vancouver Island, many left to burn naturally

31 active wildfires on Vancouver Island, many left to burn naturally

On Vancouver Island, there are currently 31 active wildfires, with 20 burning out of control. Of the out-of-control fires, Coastal Fire says most will be left to burn until they run out of fuel or are put out by fall rain.

Coastal Fire says there are 11 active wildfires on Vancouver Island that are under control or being held as of Thursday.

Most of the out-of-control wildfires are located within Strathcona Provincial Park in remote areas. Three are under control, one is being held, and 10 are out of control, and there are five more just outside the park that are out of control.

“These are naturally-caused wildfires, this is lightning-caused, and this has a place in our ecosystem in terms of resiliency and biodiversity. So there are two scenarios here, one where the response is modified, or monitor-only because this is burning in high elevation and steep terrain, and there’s actually no workable objectives for our responders,” said Kimberly Kelly, fire information officer with Coastal Fire Centre.

“The other situation is where we, in partnership with BC Parks, who is the land manager of Strathcona Park, we determined that there are ecological objectives to allow these naturally caused wildfires to burn until they are extinguished by running out of fuels or they are extinguished by incoming rain.”

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However, there is no rain in the forecast, according to Kelly, so the drought will continue on the Island in the meantime.

“We do urge the public to be extremely cautious when recreating outside. It is very dry out there and our fuels are very prone to ignite,” Kelly said.

The fire danger rating on Vancouver Island has subsided, though the drought conditions remain high. On the South Island, the fire danger rating is mostly high. Across the Mid and North Island there are pockets where the fire danger rating is low, and most of the Island has a moderate risk.

The drought conditions, however, remain at Level 5, which is the highest level, across the whole Island.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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