WATCH: Communities affected by wildfires cheered as rain clouds moved in Saturday. Four milimetres of rain was recorded on North Vancouver Island, helping clear skies so helicopters could launch just as BC’s Minister of Forests toured Errington’s Coastal Fire Centre to get an update on the situation.
Firefighters from the Coastal Fire Centre loaded up their helicopter with an unexpected boost from mother nature Saturday. Four millimetres of rain fell over the North Island and cleared smoky skies further to help crews get back into the sky and identify wildfires, where a total of 67 are now burning.
“That’s more than we have seen for many, many years,” said Coastal Fire Centre Manager Ken Takema.
“That’s all from the lightning,” said Takema.
B.C.’s Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson toured the Coastal Fire Centre Saturday where the showers brought welcome relief.
“It felt so refreshing,” said Donaldson. “So fantastic and it’s needed across the province not just here on Southern Vancouver Island but overall across the province we need a lot more rain.”
Officials say a downpour is the only thing that will stop the Gold Valley Main fire over Zeballos. It’s the blaze that firefighters call the most concerning on the Island, because of how close it is to the community.
It has now grown to 170 hectares, nearly doubling in size in the last week, but reassuring to residents is it’s moving up and away from the village. Though the possibility of high winds has authorities staying on the ground to protect that community.
“Zeballos is currently burning above the town still but we are fairly positive that the town itself won’t be impacted from the fire,” said Takema. “But it is still burning high above the town.”
With over 570 fires now burning in B.C. firefighters’ focus is protecting people and their property, with the weather forecast suggesting this burning hot summer is still a long way from over.