Out-of-control wildfire west of Sayward grows to 160 hectares

Out-of-control wildfire west of Sayward grows to 160 hectares
Photo: BC Wildfire Service
A 160-hectare wildfire near Sayward continues to burn out of control.

A wildfire on north Vancouver Island continues to burn out of control, and officials have called in 60 firefighters and several helicopters to help mitigate the flames.

The Newcastle Creek wildfire near Sayward, north of Campbell River, was discovered around 1:30 p.m. Monday, and it’s since grown to 160 hectares in size, a fire information officer tells CHEK News.

On Tuesday, the fire close to Haihte Lake sat at 90 hectares, but around noon Wednesday officials were able to get a better look at the blaze that’s believed to be human caused.

“Yesterday, visibility was very poor due to the smoke. And so, we were unable to get a really accurate perimeter around the fire,” Julia Caranci with the Coastal Fire Centre told CHEK News Wednesday afternoon.

“Today, the smoke has dissipated quite a bit, so we were able to have better flying conditions and a more accurate perimeter of the fire,” she said.

“Additionally, the fire has consumed some of the fuels within the expected perimeter, so that was anticipated and expected. It is continuing to stay within its expected perimeter at this time.”

Caranci says the service is not recommending any evacuation alerts for nearby residents, including the roughly 300 people living in the Village of Sayward.

“We are continuing to be actively responding to that fire,” she said.

Sayward officials say they’re also monitoring the fire and will post updates at sayward.ca. 

“We have 60 firefighters there today, supported by four helicopters and a water tender. We are working to meet our objectives, which include keeping that fire within its current perimeter, although the status does remain out of control,” added Caranci.

In an update Tuesday, Alertable.ca said residents in the Strathcona Regional District “may be experiencing various levels of wildfire smoke from the Newcastle Creek wildfire” and noted up-to-date information about the local Air Quality Health Index could be found online.

Caranci is encouraging residents of the Coastal Fire Centre to regularly check the BC Wildfire Service website for updates. She says they can also download the BC Wildfire app from the Apple and Google Play stores. 

There is currently one other wildfire burning on the Island near Bamfield, and on a wildfire map, it’s listed as out of control though its size is to be determined.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the BC Wildfire Service said 56 active wildfires were burning across the province, with the largest north of Fort St. John.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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