Officials urge caution as six wildfires burn on Vancouver Island

Officials urge caution as six wildfires burn on Vancouver Island
Mike Gogo/submitted
A helicopter responding to a wildfire near Nanaimo on June 23, 2023.

With six active wildfires on Vancouver Island, BC Wildfire Service officials are asking people to use caution to help prevent fires.

In the province, humans are overwhelmingly the suspected cause of wildfires so far this year, with 279 suspected to be caused by humans, compared to 198 by lightning and 17 with an unknown cause.

“All six of these fires that we’re seeing were human-caused in some capacity, direct causes have yet to be determined for many of them,” said Jade Richardson, information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre.

“However, as the winds are changing, as we’re experiencing new weather conditions and possibly the influx of lightning, we’re just asking the public to continue being diligent with their fire use.”

Campfires are currently banned on all of Vancouver Island due to the dry conditions and associated fire risk, but Richardson reminds people to use caution as fires can start from by means as well.

READ MORE: Campfire ban in effect for Vancouver Island starting June 8

“We’re just asking the public to be well aware of these regulations as well as their use of other types of fires, cigarettes, equipment that could cause sparking, when we’re experiencing conditions that may lead to things such as lightning,” Richardson said.

“Resources are going to be spent towards putting out fires from lightning starts and to avoid having additional starts from human-caused fires is a great help to us.”

If someone sees smoke they believe may be a wildfire, or a wildfire, BC Wildfire Service has a reporting line at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell. Additionally, the service has launched an app where people can upload pictures of what they see which can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play.

Wildfire status

Of the six wildfires on Vancouver Island, five are currently under control, with the sixth listed as being held.

There are four active wildfires on the North Island.

Newcastle Creek is the one wildfire listed as being held. It is west of Sayward and has been active since May 29. This fire is currently estimated at 230 hectares.

There is a second wildfire near Sayward, which is south of the village and is listed at 0.2 hectares. This fire was discovered on June 24.

Anutz Lake wildfire is estimated to be 7.9 hectares and was discovered on June 14.

The Mozino Point fire is estimated to be 0.04 hectares and was discovered on June 20.

For Central Vancouver Island, there are two active wildfires.

Cameron Bluffs was discovered on June 3 and is estimated to be 229 hectares. This is the fire that resulted in Highway 4 closing for several weeks, and just reopened on June 23.

READ MORE: Highway 4 reopens after overnight closure due to winds

The final fire is near Nanaimo, east of Whisky Lake. It is estimated to be 0.8 hectares and was discovered on June 23.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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