‘I got stuff packed right by my front door’: Neighbours get ready to flee North Cowichan wildfire

'I got stuff packed right by my front door': Neighbours get ready to flee North Cowichan wildfire
Steep slopes and wind have made fighting the fire difficult for crews.

A fire burning on south Vancouver Island has reached 32 hectares and conditions are making firefighting difficult for crews.

The fire, burning in the Holyoak Creek area on the north slope of North Cowichan’s Mount Prevost, now sits at 32-hectares and is classified as ‘out of control’, according to the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) dashboard.

Five helicopters are now in the area fighting the fire along with five water tenders, three heavy equipment and 30 firefighters, according to a BCWS statement to CHEK News Saturday.

Seven of the firefighters are from Fort St. John and launched a parachute attack on the fire at around 5 p.m. Friday. They say it’s the first time a parachute attack has been used on Vancouver Island.

Conditions including steep slopes and wind have contributed to the growth of the fire, according to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).

The proximity of the wildfire is leaving local residents concerned about whether or not they will need to evacuate.

“I got stuff packed right by my front door if I gotta go so,” said Bob Morris who lives on Mount Sicker Road, within sight of the firefight. “So, I mean it could conceivably come right over the mountain.”

An evacuation order was issued to a property on the top of  Mount Prevost Road on Friday as the fire grew. The CVRD said the fire posed a potential danger to the property and prompted the order.

Neighbours who watched clouds of smoke rising overhead Saturday wondered if more evacuations will follow. Liz Compton’s family dairy farm backs onto Mount Sicker and has 200 cows she would have to move fast.

“I don’t know if anyone’s tried to move an entire dairy farm before so yeah definitely logistically, it would be a nightmare. We’ve had other farmers come by offering help, water tankers so right now in our mind we’re starting to put together a strategy,” said Compton.

“There’s two dairy farms on the road there’s an over 100 head emu farm on the road, lots of horses. So if something happened it would be pretty major,” she said.

The fire has placed the municipality of North Cowichan under a state of local emergency.

READ MORE: Evacuation alert issued to single property in Cowichan Valley due to Mt. Prevost fire

Justin WaddellJustin Waddell
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