Lightning sparks numerous wildfires on Vancouver Island

Winter Sprowl/submitted
Winter Sprowl caught lightning in Victoria around 3 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2023.

Lightning sparked at least 18 wildfires on Vancouver Island Monday, and there is still more lightning in the forecast for Tuesday.

On Aug. 28 and 29, there were 21 new wildfires discovered, 18 of which have lightning as a suspected cause and the cause of three is under investigation.

Few parts of the Island were spared with wildfire starts as far north as Port McNeill and as far south as Sooke.

Two of the new fires are listed as under control, four are being held, with the remaining 15 fires being out of control.

Story continues below

The largest fire is one of the six new fires in Strathcona Park. The fire northwest of Tlools Lake is listed at 60 hectares.

Five of the new wildfires, all of which are in Strathcona Park, are listed as monitor only. This means that there will not be active firefighting efforts, and crews will allow it to burn out naturally unless they grow and begin to threaten infrastructure.

“The Wildfire Service recognizes fire as an essential ecological process supporting biodiversity and ecosystem resiliency,” Kimberly Kelly, fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre told CHEK News on Aug. 20.

“It’s been determined that natural fires which do not threaten safety or infrastructure should be allowed to burn as part of the natural process of the park until it’s either extinguished by rain or it begins to threaten values.”

READ MORE: ‘Essential ecological process’: Strathcona Park wildfires merge into large blaze; no plan to fight it: officials

There are now 10 active wildfires in Strathcona Park, three are listed as under control, with the rest out of control. All except one are listed as monitor only and the one south of Elk River has one attack crew and one helicopter responding.

A number of Island communities have lightning in the forecast for Tuesday morning, with it expected to end in the afternoon.

Campbell River, Comox, Courtenay, Duncan, Esquimalt, Southern Gulf Islands, Malahat, Nanaimo, Port Hardy, Qualicum Beach, and Victoria all have lightning in the forecast for the morning. Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet do not have lightning in the forecast, but it is expected to rain.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!