Bob East watched closely as firefighters scaled a hillside near his Cherry Creek home Tuesday.
“You can see the area it covered up there very quickly,” said Bob East, who lived in his Cherry Creek home for 49 years.
The wildfire, which has already burned up a two-hectare sized ridge, broke out at 5 p.m. Monday.
BC Wildfire Service air support and crews from four Port Alberni area departments worked through the night, managing to stop the fire’s spread, but it continued to smoulder on Tuesday.
That had East readying his fifth wheel on Tuesday, packing it up to leave if needed.
“Got everything ready to go on a moment’s notice, so I think most of the people in the neighbourhood probably did the same thing,” he said.
According to neighbours, land clearing had been going on at the end of the Clayton Road property, as record-breaking temperatures baked the valley.
“It was 42 degrees and extreme heat. Humidity was really low. Worse fire conditions than you really want. Initially, we had knocked it down, embers though, had already embedded themselves on the side hill and the wind picked up and it moved faster than what we could get hoses to,” said Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department chief, Lucan Banton.
The fire danger was rated high in Cherry Creek Tuesday, but some pockets of Vancouver Island are rated extreme.
“Every hour or so things are getting drier and drier in the environment and the risk is increasing,” said BC Wildfire Service’s fire information officer, Dorthe Jakobsen.
Alberni firefighters say they expected to be on scene, extinguishing hot spots for days.