It has been 10 days since the Cameron Bluffs wildfire was discovered, and crews are continuing to battle the blaze.
The wildfire remains at 254 hectares, and the incident commander for the Cameron Bluffs wildfire says it has not grown since the rain on Friday.
“The fire has not grown in recent days. With better mapping we’ve confirmed the fire is 254 hectares, and there has been no growth since the rainy days,” said Bryce Moreira, incident commander for the Cameron Bluffs wildfire. “On June 9, we received 15 millimetres of rain, which depressed fire behaviour, currently just seeing smouldering ground fire on all flanks of the fire.”
Due to the proximity of the fire to Highway 4, Transportation BC says the highway will remain closed, and there is no estimated time for it to reopen.
#BCHwy4 remains CLOSED with no estimated time for reopening.
Assessments are underway regarding debris, danger trees and slope stability.
Detour in place for essential travel only. https://t.co/rRkL0ZWLNf #Tofino #Ucluelet #PortAlberni pic.twitter.com/f0ewSLZrUb
— BC Transportation (@TranBC) June 12, 2023
Typically, with prolonged periods of no fire growth, the fire would be moved to be deemed “being held” but due to the difficult nature of fighting this fire, Moreira says it is still being classified as out of control.
“The fire has not grown and is not expected to grow in the coming days with the current resources and weather patterns. That being said, today’s a hot and dry day and because of the inaccessible areas, we want to be confident that those are not going to change in the short term,” Moreira said.
“Knowing that when we change the status, we make that decision for the long-term period of time, we want to be fully confident that is not going to change in the short term before we make that decision to change the status.”
Ground crews and heavy equipment continue to battle the fire on the accessible areas, with helicopters being used to tackle inaccessible areas with steep and challenging terrain, according to Moreira. He says there are some areas of the fire that are “totally inaccessible” due to the terrain.
With the remaining blaze being smouldering ground fire, which is a rank 1 fire, can come with its own challenges. Smouldering ground fires mean there are no visible flames, but the old vegetative material on the forest floor can still be burning, which can be more difficult for crews to see and find.
Moreira says crews are diligent about mopping up and using water to suppress all areas with the potential fire fuel to ensure no smouldering is missed.
“Additionally, with that, we’re looking at bringing in other tools to use infrared scanning, so that we can see some of those spots that are we potentially haven’t seen by the crews on the ground,” he said.
Over the weekend, a firefighter at the Cameron Bluffs wildfire was injured, and Moreira says for patient confidentiality, he cannot provide an update on the condition.
An investigation by the BC Wildfire Service and WorkSafeBC is underway, and there is no predicted timeline for when it will be complete, but Moreira says details will be released when possible.