Two wildfires in northern Vancouver Island believed to be human-caused

Two wildfires in northern Vancouver Island believed to be human-caused

The two new wildfires on Vancouver Island that were discovered on Oct. 3 are represented by the red dots.

Two wildfires that were discovered on Tuesday in northern Vancouver Island are suspected to have been caused by humans, the BC Wildfire Service said.

One of the wildfires is one kilometre west of Patterson Lake and is approximately six hectares.

Marg Drysdale, a fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Service, said the fire is located “in slash,” which means there is debris on the ground from forestry activity.

Forest industry crews are fighting the wildfire near Patterson Lake and the BC Wildfire Service is monitoring the situation.

The other wildfire is 3.5 kilometres east of Nimpkish Lake and is two hectares in size. There is also forest industry in the area.

“Neither of these has any people, structures, anything at risk,” Drysdale said.

“They’re in remote locations.”

According to Drysdale, the fire near Nimpkish Lake is at a high elevation.

“So it’s very visible and my understanding is that when it was reported last night, there was a number of people who called it in who could see it from Port McNeill or Sointula, so we expect that fire has the potential for some growth.”

The BC Wildfire Service is assessing the wildfire near Nimpkish Lake and is looking for ground crews can work because of the steep terrain. A couple of officers have been out to look at the area.

Drysdale said the fire risk in both areas is low but dry conditions are expected in the next few days. She added rain is expected after that.

Wildfires on Vancouver Island in the fall are not rare, Drysdale said.

“We do have fires on the coast in the fall,” Drysdale said.

“The public, as well as forest industry, wait until these kinds of conditions in order to get rid of any kind of debris that they may have. It also means that people wait and they may or may not have debris stocked up that they want to do some kind of abatement so they want to get rid of it safely, so it’s not unusual.”

The Category 2 and Category 3 fire ban was lifted last week. Drysdale said it’s important for people to monitor open fires carefully and make sure they have tools to mitigate the risk of the fire spreading.

“The forest industry generally has large equipment. They have people on site. The public, when they’re doing their yard work, they need to monitor whatever kind of debris that they’re burning,” Drysdale said.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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