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Crews fighting wildfire south of Port Alberni, Cowichan Valley fire remains out of control

Fires are suspected of being human-caused
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Fire crews were alerted to two wildfires burning south of Port Alberni Sunday night. The fires are believed to be human-caused. PORT ALBERNI FIRE DEPARTMENT

Fire crews are working to contain two wildfires that ignited south of Port Alberni on Sunday.

One of two fires, classified as the Spur 10 #1 fire, was reported at 8 p.m. Sunday and remains out of control. B.C. Wildfire says it is four hectares in size and is burning in heavy forest fuel and on steep terrain.

“In the absence of lightning it is suspected to be human-caused,” said Julia Caranci, fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre.

B.C. Wildfire crews were on scene overnight, fighting the fire with help from the Port Alberni, Cherry Creek and Sproat Lake fire departments.

On Monday, B.C. Wildfire had 13 firefighters, two water tenders, an excavator and a helicopter on scene. The wildfire service said no human life or infrastructure is currently at risk, however the fire is visible to the nearby community.

The second wildfire, which is now under control by fire crews, is also suspected to be human-caused. It is burning close by and is an estimated .30 hectares in size.

A spate of fires in wooded, brush-filled areas near Port Alberni at the end of September and into early October were believed to have been set intentionally, Chief Mike Owens said in an interview Oct. 7.

“We’re treating them as suspicious so we’ve involved the RCMP,” he said.

Caranci said the fire burning near the Cowichan River remains an estimated 4.1 hectares in size and is classified as out of control.

“Things are going well,” she said. “We’re working towards containment.”

ngrossman@timescolonist.com

With files from Jeff Bell.

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