‘It’s not over yet’: Mount Hayes fire still being held, dry conditions expected next week

'It's not over yet': Mount Hayes fire still being held, dry conditions expected next week

A wildfire on Vancouver Island near Ladysmith is still classified as being held, with dry conditions heading into September.

The Mount Hayes wildfire west of Ladysmith is now sitting at 61.5 hectares, down from 73 hectares earlier in the week, according to Coastal Fire Centre Information Officer Dortha Jakobsen.

The drop in the fire size is because crews are now able to get a better sense of the size as visibility improves while the fire is being fought, according to Jakobsen.

Jakobsen says crews including 24 firefighters and three water tenders are in the mopping up phase — where debris is turned over and fires are put out — and may take a while for the fire to be considered under control.

“They need to ensure that the perimeter is completely under control,” said Jakobsen. “It’s burning in difficult ground, the mop-up effort will take quite some time.”

Jakobsen said crews have achieved enough suppression of the fire for spreading to be unlikely and the fire hasn’t grown since Aug. 22.

BC Wildfire Service feels the fire season is not over yet as August comes to an end. They say conditions are still very dry — with eastern Vancouver Island in a Drought Level 5 — and little rain in the near forecast.

“It’s not over yet, not quite,” said Jakobsen. “It all depends on mother nature. We’re still kinda in a cooler pattern this moment but next week we’re going to get a high again around Wednesday or Thursday so temperatures will become more seasonal and more dry.”

The Coastal Fire Centre says they’re thanking the public for their diligence in this year’s fire season.

“We’d like to thank them for their diligence throughout the fire season in not starting any fires,” said Jakobsen. “Human-caused fires are always 100 per cent preventable, and I think in the coast the public have done a good job of that and they’ve done a great job of reporting to us as well, quickly.”

“We thank them for that and we ask them to please keep it up for a little while longer.”

READ MORE: Mix of toxic pollutants left behind in ash after wildfires scorch communities: expert

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Justin WaddellJustin Waddell

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