Wildfire near Sproat Lake now 80 per cent contained


WATCH: The fire burning in timber near Sproat Lake was reported around 3 p.m. Saturday and was quickly attacked by nine planes and helicopters.

The air attack over the wildfire near Sproat Lake on Saturday included fire retardant dropped from an air tanker making continuous passes over the fire.

“The fire was a hot, growing, expanding fire initially,” said Incident Commander Shawn McKay of the BC Wildfire Service.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon near the Taylor Arm campground on Highway 4, 15 kilometre west of Port Alberni.

A small plume of smoke was growing as firefighters from the Sproat Lake Fire Department arrived first, quickly followed by forestry firefighters, helicopters, the air tanker and four float planes.

“It was definitely the quick response from our aviation resources and fire centre resources that allowed us to catch this at the one hectare size,” added McKay.

As of Sunday afternoon, the fire was 80 per cent contained as ground crews worked to put out hot spots in conditions that are continuing to dry out fast.

“It’s very dry. Our Fine Fuels Moisture Code is kind of our main indicator for how easily a fire can start and that’s up over the value of 90, which once it’s at 94 that’s about 100 per cent ignition and I would expect to see those values this week with the really hot weather and the dry outflow winds that are forecast for the foreseeable fu,ure.” said McKay.

The fire danger rating is currently high or extreme across most of Vancouver Island.

This weekend’s wildfire fire burned in the Alberni Valley Community Forest and the operators are relieved that only a fraction of it was actually burned.

“The concern is just the dry conditions and Sproat Lake, this side of the lake faces south so it heats up, gets really dry and the fires can take off really fast unless there’s a quick response to them.” said Alberni Community Forest Manager Chris Law.

Having Sproat Lake right below the fire made it easy to get plenty of water on it fast.

Investigators have been on site trying to determine what sparked the fire.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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