WATCH: The Coastal Fire Centre says they’ve been making progress in their fight against the fire by Nanaimo River Road. The fire grew just a bit overnight but there’s concern from fire crews that weather conditions could soon turn against them. Kendall Hanson reports.
It’s been four days since the wildfire near Nanaimo River Road began and for the first time, the fire has stopped spreading.
“Things are looking better than yesterday,” said Morgan Boghean, incident commander from Coastal Fire Centre. “It’s just as hot as yesterday, but we made excellent progress with the machines. We worked them overnight last night. they got a lot of good quality work done. We have done some backburns that have been successful.”
At 179 hectares, the fire is still 25 per cent contained and considered out of control. There are now 55 firefighters, three helicopters and 18 pieces of heavy equipment at work trying to put the fire out.
Crews expect with the current weather forecast they’ll be fighting this fire for weeks.
“It is very hot and very high. Our drought codes are very high meaning it’s going to take a very long time to put this fire out,” said Boghean. “It’s burning very deep into the ground so it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of digging.”
The fire is 13 kilometres from Nanaimo but some homes are much closer than that. Wolf and Rina Danielowski are among 171 property owners on evacuation alert. They have bags packed just in case and can’t believe it was human caused.
“Seeing those helicopters going back and forth and we live in a beautiful place and having people to destroy it. They should think twice,” said Rina Danielowski.
Residents saw the fire Sunday night shortly after it started and they can’t believe how much it’s grown.
“What were their thoughts? How did they manage how they were going to approach this fire and why is it so big today?” questions Wolf Danielowski.
Fire crews say the windy dry conditions were just right for the fire to spread quickly since its start. The steep slopes and overhead power lines only adding to the challenge.
All are hoping for a change in the weather to help the firefighters gain control.