The BC Wildfire Service is reporting two new out-of-control wildfires on Vancouver Island.
A fire discovered at 9:12 p.m. Sunday about 19 kilometres east of Bamfield now measures 12 hectares, fire information officer Gordon Robinson told CHEK News Monday.
At 1:45 p.m., Robinson said 20 firefighting personnel, including in two helicopters and six skimmer air tanks, were responding to the blaze.
“We have been responding this morning. We currently have a helicopter and an initial attack crew there, as well as an assigned group of air tankers,” he said. “We’re continuing to bring more resources to that one.”
The fire is under investigation, so the cause is unknown and “it’s still fairly early, so we don’t have a ton of information on it yet,” said Robinson.
Another out-of-control fire, discovered at 1:49 p.m. Monday, is south of Sayward and measures 0.09 hectares.
The wildfire service says 14 firefighters, along with helicopter crews, are responding to this fire that’s under investigation.
There are now seven active wildfires on the Island as of Monday afternoon.
The Tugwell Main fire discovered at 7:14 p.m. Sunday near Otter Point west of Sooke was burning out of control, but Robinson says it’s now being held. It’s currently 0.3 hectares.
The Cameron Bluffs fire discovered on June 3 east of Port Alberni remains under control at 229 hectares, while another fire at Filberg Creek discovered on July 1 in Strathcona Provincial Park is under control at 0.04 hectares.
West of Sayward, the Newcastle Creek fire is being held at 230 hectares, and the Glenlion River fire southwest of Port Hardy is under control at 3.43 hectares. These fires were discovered on May 29 and June 26, respectively.
An out-of-control fire means it’s continuing to spread and is not responding to suppression efforts, while being held means it’s not likely to spread and under control means it will not spread, according to the wildfire service.
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So far this year, 54 wildfires have been reported on Vancouver Island, and all have been determined to be human caused unless still under investigation.
“Please be careful out there,” pleaded Robinson.
“It’s hot, and it’s going to get hotter through this next week. We’re expecting a shift of outflow winds coming as soon as tomorrow, and that’s going to bring hot, dry conditions. With the amount of drought we’ve had so far this year, that can cause fire to start really quickly.”
While human-caused fires can be intentional, they are often accidental and started by cigarettes or sparks from things like ATVs and other vehicles.
On June 26, a fire information officer told CHEK News in an interview that investigators determine if the person responsible for a human-caused fire should face fines.
“We’ve been almost completely or even completely human caused so far on the Island. That’s mainly just a factor that we haven’t had lightning yet. It’s more common to get lightning in July and August,” added Robinson.
“Over the course of this season, it will probably look more like an average year. On the mainland, we have had a number of lightning fires, but the Island I don’t think has had any.”
A campfire ban is currently in place on the Island, where the fire danger rating is almost entirely high with a few pockets of extreme risk.