Fire bans lifted on Vancouver Island after days of rain improve conditions

Fire bans lifted on Vancouver Island after days of rain improve conditions

Campfires are now permitted by the Coastal Fire Centre as a result of the rain on Vancouver Island since Sunday.

“So that means we no longer have within our jurisdiction any open fire prohibitions,” said Coastal Fire Centre information officer Julia Caranci.

The campfire ban had been in place since June 8. A full list of what is allowed can be found here.

Caranci urges people to check with their local government to ensure they have rescinded fire prohibitions as well.

Officials are also asking people to be careful with fires because the Island is still emerging from a deep drought going back to last year.

“So we’re going to continue to ask people to use caution until we receive a longer period of much more widespread significant rainfall,” added Caranci.

One week ago, CHEK News reported that numerous wildfires were still burning out of control on the Island.

As of Wednesday, they are all listed as “being held” or “under control.”

“So again, that’s because the significant rain has reduced fire behaviour on all of those incidents,” Caranci said.

At Miracle Beach Provincial Park in Black Creek, they began delivering wood to campsites again Wednesday, and some campers from Osoyoos couldn’t wait to get one started.

“Apparently, at 12 o’clock today, we’re allowed to have campfires on the Island and we are ready,” said camper Keith Sheardown.

And minutes later, the crackle of burning wood was a welcome sound at site 18.

“I’m quite happy to hear the noise. It’s been a while,” added Sheardown.

The rain is also good news for Island rivers and reservoirs, including Comox Lake reservoir which has risen half a meter since Sunday.

“So 145 mm of rain (in the upper Puntledge watershed) over a few days is pretty good,” said BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson.

“It’s what we’d call a moderate storm, but as I say it’s really good timing for this. We were in really low conditions. It was the lowest inflows we’ve seen in August, then September, then a big change, so really happy to see it.”

Watson says the rising reservoir is allowing BC Hydro to open the gates and send more water down the Puntledge River. This is good for municipal water users and migrating salmon and will allow BC Hydro to start up its generating station on the river.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island campfire ban ends, but drought conditions still a concern

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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