Zeballos wildfire now 90 hectares but not posing an immediate threat to village


WATCH: The fire burning on the steep slopes above the north Island village of Zeballos has now grown to 90 hectares. Five residences remain on evacuation alert. Dean Stolz has more.

The sunrise over Zeballos was shrouded in forest fire smoke Friday as the nearby fire continued to burn.

The B.C. Wildfire Service said Friday it had grown to 90 hectares.

“I’ve been monitoring it and I haven’t been getting much sleep but I ain’t going to panic,” said Roland Van Mierlo whose wooden house sits under the fire.

“We’re right against the mountain there so we got all of our stuff out. Well, the sentimental stuff that we cannot replace, we got that stuff out. It’s quite nerve-racking,” said another resident Derek Mcafee.

An evacuation alert remains in effect for five properties closest to the fire. Some people have already left the village, while others say they are ready to go at a moments notice if the fire changes direction.

“That’s for sure, yes,” said Christine Fitzpatrick. “Everyone is taking it seriously, we’re a small community, we’re really tight-knit and everybody takes care of everybody so no man will be left behind that’s for sure.”

A helicopter flew in several times during the day to assess the fire, and ground crews were in the bush putting out hot spots, and clearing trees.

“Oh it is growing, it is going up the mountainside,” said Mayor Donnie Cox.

“I was just viewing it from the other side of the valley from the vantage point and it’s a long ways up but the threat to us is the structures in the town itself and that seems to be holding steady.”

For most of the day, the southward winds were calm, blowing the fire and the smoke away from the village.

But, another big fire at kilometre 13 on the Zeballos Forest Service Road continues to burn. Helicopters were seen bucketing water on that fire all day as the battle to keep the road open continued.

The road was closed for about 30 minutes Friday afternoon as crews felled dangerous trees near the road.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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