RCMP and fire officials are on edge in Port Alberni where they’ve seen an alarmingly high number of fires.
In the past nine days they’ve seen more than a dozen and considering the tinder-dry conditions, officials are extremely concerned.
In the last nine days, there have been more than a dozen brush or wildfires.
They include six in quick succession last Sunday, one of note in Cherry Creek Friday, two last night and another this morning.
Officials say the conditions aren’t helping as there hasn’t been any rain since the heat dome.
“We’re seeing fire growth happening exponentially relative to what we normally would so it is very concerning that we have so many fire starts in such a short period of time,” said Chief Mike Owens of the Port Alberni Fire Department.
Last night a fire in Dry Creek Park sent plumes of smoke into the air that could be seen through much of Port Alberni. It grew to 80 feet by 80 feet and had many nearby residents worried.
“I was more concerned about the amount of timber and the wildlife that would be affected. Towns rebuild. Forests take longer,” said Rose Dupuis, who lives near the park.
Firefighter’s had it knocked down in two hours.
Port Alberni Fire has called on the BC Wildfire Service to assist it and the RCMP with the investigations. They’re trying to determine what’s common between the fires and whether they were caused by intention or negligence.
“The only things that have helped us in mitigating the damage done by these fires is quick reporting by the public and quick response by our crews. Certainly, all the elements are here right now to have a fire that could have some pretty devastating consequences,” said Owens.
In a release, this afternoon Port Alberni RCMP is asking for dashcam footage taken in the area around the recent fires or tips about anyone who may be starting them.