BC Wildfire Service battling blaze near Gold River

BC Wildfire Service battling blaze near Gold River

Fire crews responded overnight to a 4.5-hectare fire about eight kilometres southeast of Gold River, about 70 kilometres west of Courtenay.

There are currently six firefighters and two helicopters working on the blaze, in difficult terrain.

BCWS says the fire is human-caused.

The wildfire comes after unseasonably warm weather swept Vancouver Island and B.C.’s South Coast this week, with daily temperature records broken in multiple locations.

The current weather has combined with relatively dry months and less than normal amounts of rain. That has combined with wind to remove moisture, especially from areas without much of a root system.

Donna Macpherson, a fire information officer with BC Wildfire Service, says the Gold River wildfire is a good example of that.

“It’s an active logging site and it has trees on the ground, but it also has all their branches and cut off and what not on the ground as well. That’s debris without a root system,” she said.

“If you think about the dead grass on the surface of the soil, they don’t have any way to rehydrate themselves so even though there’s water underneath the ground they can’t access it.”

READ MORE: Multiple temperature records broken on Vancouver Island as April heat wave continues

Macpherson said that BCWS considers Vancouver Island to be at a moderate fire risk, where conditions allow fires to carry and increase in size.

“We haven’t seen a lot of precipitation and really and really the last substantial precipitation we saw was the second half of March, but even then it wasn’t super heavy,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon.

The weather is supposed to shift at the end of the week, with showers and cooler temperatures expected to begin Friday night. However, Sekhon said it could take a fair bit of rain to recover from the dry months.

“It would really take a prolonged period of this showery weather in order to recoup some of that precipitation deficit. But nonetheless, hope is on the way this weekend,” said Sekhon.

The BCWS is asking people to be cautious with campfires and ensure they have a way to put out their fires, making sure they’re cold to the touch, before they leave.


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