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Fire near Island's highest peak out of control

The fire, northeast of Burman Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park and in the shadow of Golden Hinde, is being fought by both aircraft and ground crews.

A wildfire near the Island’s highest peak has grown to about two hectares since a lightning strike on Sunday.

The fire, northeast of Burman Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park and in the shadow of Golden Hinde, is being fought by both aircraft and ground crews. The area presents “extremely difficult access with extreme cliffs,” the B.C. Wildfire Service said.

It is the only fire on the Island considered out of control by the service as a heat wave and lightning strikes in the area continue.

Golden Hinde rises 2,195 metres and is a popular mountain for experienced climbers.

The other six fires — three each in the mid- and north-Island zones — are all less than a hectare in size and considered under control, said Christi Howes of the Coastal Fire Centre.

All have been started by lightning strikes and the risk of further wildfires has been elevated by the heat wave settling over much of Vancouver Island in recent days, said Howes.

“Continued heat and low humidity will increase fire behaviour,” said Howes.

More thunderstorms were expected on the mid- and north Island regions Thursday and overnight into today before temperatures cool slightly, according to the wildfire service.

A campfire and burning ban has been in place for all of the coastal region, except for Haida Gwaii, and Howes urged campers and others in remote areas to heed warnings.

She said human-caused fires “take away resources needed for lightning-caused fires.”

In these situations, campfires present an unacceptable risk and detract from detection and response capabilities by increasing the number of “false-alarm smoke chases, wildfire phone reports and nuisance fires,” the wildfire service said.

Campers can use approved cooking devices and stoves using propane, gas or propane, but flames must be lower than 15 centimetres.

The Wildfire Service has asked people to report fires immediately at 1-800-663-5555 or, on cellphones, at *5555.

dkloster@timescolonist.com