Caution urged as Vancouver Island faces high fire danger

Caution urged as Vancouver Island faces high fire danger

WATCH: Fire danger for much of Vancouver Island is high and some areas could soon hit extreme as dozens of local fire fighters deploy to B.C. Interior. Tess van Straaten reports.


View Royal firefighters have loaded everything they could possibly need, including cots in case there’s nowhere for them to sleep, onto a fire truck as they prepare to head to the B.C. Interior to help with the massive fire fight.

The crew has been preparing since Saturday and had hoped to be on the road Monday, but they’ve been put on 24-hour standby.

“The nerves are acting up and we’re getting a little anxious because you want to get up there and help out but there’s a lot of logistical concerns,” Acting Chief Rob Marshall of View Royal Fire said.

Those basic concerns include where they’ll get fuel for the fire truck in evacuated or remote areas and even where they’re needed most, with more than 200 fires burning.

“Right now, with the amount of smoke and the weather conditions they’re seeing in the area, they’re unable to get a true picture of the size of the fires, what’s burning, what’s going on and where we’re needed to fight structure fires,” Marshall said.

Tinder-dry conditions on much of Vancouver Island pose serious hazard

It’s not just the B.C. Interior that’s dealing with tinder-dry conditions.

The fire hazard rating for much of Vancouver Island is now high, despite a cool, wet Spring and it’s feared some areas could hit extreme in a matter of days.

“The forest fuels are phenomenally dry,” Donna MacPherson of the Coastal Fire Centre in Errington said.

Conditions are the worst on the mid Island and the south Island, which has gone 22 days without rain.

“We’re looking at several days of continued dry, hot weather and we’re not seeing any precipitation in sight, perhaps the entire month if not longer, so each day the fire dries a little more,” MacPherson said.

Unlike the Interior, where lightening strikes are wreaking havoc, almost all of the wildfires on Vancouver Island are human-caused.

“We’re asking people to be really careful,” MacPherson said. “There’s a campfire ban in place everywhere but the fog zone and if you’re using machinery in the forest, don’t park it in tall grass. Cigarettes are always a concern so make sure you don’t butt them out on the ground and just be very, very careful no matter what you’re doing.”

If the fire situation here flares up, officials say crews deploying to the Interior might have to be called back and that could have devastating consequences.


Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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