Rain helps firefight in Zeballos, sending firefighters home at last

Rain helps firefight in Zeballos, sending firefighters home at last

WATCH: Three weeks of prayers for rain have been answered in Zeballos where 11 millimetres of precipitation fell this weekend and more is in the forecast. The wildfire that’s grown to 168 acres is still burning out of control but the damp conditions are being cheered as they help settle smoke and let exhausted firefighters begin returning home to their communities.

Zeballos has been pleading for rain for weeks and finally, this weekend, 11 millimetres of precipitation arrived.

“Everybody has been very happy to receive some precipitation,” said Fire Information Officer Dorthe Jakobsen.

“Even if it’s just a little bit.”

Aerial photos show how the rain has cleared the air for firefighters to attack the wildfire by helicopter again to ease the community’s worry.

“It’s a fire in a more or less inoperable terrain,” said Jakobsen.

“So they’ve had to sit and watch that for a few weeks and they’ve been very patient.

The 168-hectare wildfire has been burning since early August and sending burning debris and rocks plummeting down towards the village below.

“It was pandemonium,” Mayor Don Cox told CHEK News at the height of the fire on Aug. 9.

“Especially at night time with all the darkness. The flames, just so dramatic,” he said.

Yet it also activated the best in the tiny community as people rallied and volunteered in rotating waves, cooking and hosting the firefighters that had moved in to defend the North Island Village.

Zeballos volunteers can finally rest now. Tuesday marked this small army’s last round the clock meal-making shift for firefighters from Comox and Port McNeill, as the rainfall allowed them to get in their firetrucks and drive home at last.

“We are looking forward to some significant rain which would change the fire danger ratings in the area,” Jakobsen said.

A threat still remains right now so the State of Emergency in the village is remaining in effect until Thursday when officials will reassess conditions.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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