Officials say wildfire south of Port McNeill 50 per cent contained

Officials say wildfire south of Port McNeill 50 per cent contained

Smoke rising from the wildfire near Nimpkish Lake that was discovered on July 5. Credit: B.C. Wildfire Service

A wildfire that was discovered Wednesday on northern Vancouver Island is now 50 per cent contained, the B.C. Wildfire Service said Friday.

Donna MacPherson with the Coastal Fire Centre said the fire, which is located just north of Nimpkish Lake Provincial Park, is 10 hectares. Smoke that was pushed down in the area made the fire appear 20 hectares in size Thursday. By the next morning, the fire was 25 per cent contained before being 50 per cent contained by Friday afternoon. 

“As people were flying over it, trying to get a perimeter, where they thought the fire might have gone to, it’s very heavy timber up there, so they were looking down and the smoke was travelling along the ground,” MacPherson said. 

“What happened late last night is that the winds moved into the area, it’s moved the smoke out from under the trees and now they can see where it actually is.”

READ MORE: Fire crews battling wildfire south of Port McNeill

Three helicopters, 35 firefighters and three fire officers are still on the ground battling the wildfire. It is believed to be human-caused. 

MacPherson said the fire hasn’t moved beyond of the edge of the forest and has stayed in the open logging area. The fire is burning through logging slash, which is branches and other leftover tree parts that are not used for lumber.

On Friday, the B.C. Wildfire Service was keeping an eye on the wind, which is expected to pick up in the area.

“Even though temperatures have gone down slightly in that area, the winds are expected to pick up,” MacPherson said. 

“So we don’t know if the fire will grow or not, depending on how the wind hits it and which part of the containment line it hits.” 

There is also a chance for lightning in the area, although most of the lightning had been to the south as of Friday afternoon. 

The wildfire south of Port McNeill sparked on June 5.

Smoke is seen from the fire near Nimpkish Lake on July 6. Courtesy of Ronnie Peabody.

Smoke from the wildfire near Nimpkish Lake is seen from Alert Bay. Courtesy of Garth Cameron.



Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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