At least 44 wildfires now burning on northern Vancouver Island


WATCH: The number of fires caused by last week’s lightning storm on the north Island continues to grow. There are now 44 confirmed fires and more will likely be found.

The helicopter staging area at the Quinsam Fire base in Campbell River has been very busy as crews head out to battle fires in the morning then return in the evening after a day on the front lines.

They are also finding new fires as they fly in and out.

“We’ve got issues with smoke and we’ve got issues with fog but again, we’re picking up a lot of fires just based on the amount of flying we’re doing. And I would suspect that there is a lot more fire on the landscape out there that we’re still finding,” said B.C. Wildfire Officer Mark Petrovcic.

Most of the fires are in remote areas, not threatening people or structures.

However, a fire near Head Bay Road south of Thasis is a concern because it’s in the power lines and another fire near the Zeballos Forest Service Road is also a concern because that is the only road between Zeballos and Highway 19.

“We have a helicopter over there, some initial attack crews working on trying to contain that one so it doesn’t cut off the access to the community.” added Petrovcic.

Another fire closer to Zeballos has people living in the small village concerned about the apparent lack of action on it but wildfire officials say each fire is dealt with on a priority basis and at the time, the flames were not a threat to any structures or people.

“It’s a visual eyesore but it’s not threatening the community at this time,” said Petrovcic early Tuesday afternoon. “We’re constantly monitoring it and if the situation changes we will redirect and we re-prioritize.”

However, by late afternoon, the winds around Zeballos had picked up and a helicopter was sent to the fire to start bucketing water on it.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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