Buttle Narrows on Highway 28 between Campbell River and Gold River usually provides a great view down Buttle Lake, but on Wednesday the picturesque valley was again shrouded in a thick layer of smoke from nearby forest fires.
“We’re still seeing lots of smoke come up in the region,” said Jake Richardson with the Coastal Fire Centre. “There are a number of fires in that region, Mount Con Reid, of course, being the largest.”
There are currently nine wildfires burning out of control across the Central and North Island, five of those inside Strathcona Provincial Park.
There was significant rain in the area on Tuesday, but Wednesday was sunny and dry with gusty winds from the north, again drying out the woods.
The Mount Con Reid fire is listed as 2330 hectares big, still burning out of control and being monitored by officials.
The fires in the park were naturally caused by lightning and are not threatening any infrastructure, so they are being left to burn themselves out.
However, even Tuesday’s heavy rain did little to suppress the fire.
“After periods of rain in drought conditions like we have now, we do see the fuels on the ground exhibit some hydrophobic conditions, which means they are not as quick to absorb the precipitation as you might expect,” Richardson added.
Meanwhile, the stubborn Newcastle Creek fire near Sayward is still classified as being held at 230 hectares. It was discovered on May 29.
“There are portions of this fire that are inaccessible to crews, and the actionable parts of this fire have received action from the crews on the ground as well as bucketing support. Now we’re simply monitoring the portions where there is no access for crews,” said Richardson.
The good news is numerous weather systems are lining up to hit this part of the Island over the next week, with showers and steady rain beginning this weekend.