Cameron Bluffs wildfire grows to 140 hectares as residents prepare to leave

CHEK

The danger of large boulders and burning fir trees crashing down from the Cameron Bluffs wildfire fully closed Highway 4 to Vancouver Island’s west coast Wednesday.

As flaggers and RCMP stopped, all traffic was trying to get through.

“It’s expanded quite a lot to the east since (Tuesday),” said Fraser Campbell, who travelled up from Victoria to watch the firefight, worried about his cabin on Cameron Lake.

Sean Gobin lives within sight of the burning ridge above the lake and has packed bags for his family if the order comes to evacuate.

“Unnerving, you got all your belongings around here, and they’re closing down roads. So yeah, it’s a little bit scary,” said Gobin, a Whiskey Creek resident.

READ ALSO: Detour in effect as wildfire grows, closes Highway 4 east of Port Alberni

According to BC Wildfire, 26 firefighters and five helicopters are working on the fire, but as of Wednesday, it had reached 140 hectares and was still burning out of control.

“The fire is in steep terrain, and the crews are being challenged by the fire progressing,” said Kimberly Kelly, a fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service.

On Wednesday, slope stability experts were brought in to assess the integrity of the rocky ridge next to Highway 4, even as more debris fell from above through the day.

Officials said it’s a step that must be taken before any crews can be brought in to remove the tonnes of debris blocking the highway below.

So Andrea Dorst had her horse trailer packed and ready to load with her horses and animals.

“It’s always a risk living in the forest area that one day it might happen, so you try to be prepared regardless,” said Dorst, a Whiskey Creek resident.

“We got our boys up there fighting it, so that’s about the best you could ask for. So I’m sure they’ll be here in a heartbeat to tell us we have to evacuate, so just waiting for that,” said Gobin.

All while residents maintain hope that firefighters will get a handle on the Cameron Bluffs wildfire soon.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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