Residents ready to flee as Nanaimo Lakes wildfire remains out of control


WATCH: The fire near Nanaimo Lakes has now grown to 131 hectares after first being reported Sunday afternoon. Dean Stoltz brings you an update on this developing story. 

Joelle Green has her two horses Sully and Rainbow ready to go.

Their trailer is hitched up to the truck and the hay is ready in case they are told to leave.

“Well my 4Runner is hooked up to my horse trailer,” said Green. “We’re ready in case the RCMP tell us we need to go, we’re ready, we’re on alert, evacuation alert.”

Hers is one of 77 properties east of the fire on evacuation alert.

The fire is still about 5 kilometres, away but they are nervous. They’re building a new home on the property.

Mark Smith who lives on Nanaimo River Road is also packed and ready to go if he gets that knock on the door.

“A little bit of sleepless nights or waking up in the middle of the night making sure nothing is coming to close or closer.” said Smith.

“All the dirt bikes we moved out last night and we got the fifth wheel hooked up and all the stuff in the fifth wheel.”

As of late Tuesday afternoon the fire was holding at 131 hectares as six helicopters dropped water on the flames, and dozens of firefighters fought the fire on the ground. Although the wind was blowing the fire away from affected residences.

“Over the last 24 hours it has grown and the fire is still considered to be out of control and it’s considered to be 0 per cent contained at this time,” said Fire Information Officer Natasha Broznitsky.

Mike Gogo is watching the fire closely. He has a Christmas tree farm and a lumbermill close by.

“Well this is the family farm, it’s been here since 1897. We’re not going to let a little thing like a forest fire stop us,” said Gogo.

He’s even got his own fire truck and several hoses. He says he’s not leaving even if he’s told to go.

“I will not because I’ve got fire equipment here,” he said. “I’ve got a big pond with 1,000,000 gallons of water and I’ve got two to three big industrial fire hoses and one at my house here and one at the mill so I know even if a forest fire came through I could save my house and the surrounding buildings.”

Shane Sparks isn’t taking any chances. He’s already packed and is now moving his grandfather’s old pickup truck to a safer spot.

“Everybody’s got their bags packed and the things they need,” he said.

They just hope they don’t need them.

As of 5 p.m Tuesday the Regional District of Nanaimo says the evacuation order and alert remain unchanged from last night.

You can find the latest press release here.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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