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Wildfire on northeastern Vancouver Island grows to 25 hectares

The fire near the Nimpkish River south of Woss is being monitored via aerial crews and remote cameras
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Along with the Nimpkish River fire, a two-hectare wildfire burning in Strathcona Park that ignited Aug. 14 is still classified as out of control by the wildfire service. Northeast of Burman Lake, the area has extremely steep terrain, which means the response from fire crews is modified. BC WILDFIRE SERVICE

A wildfire near the Nimpkish River south of Woss on northeastern Vancouver Island has grown to 25 hectares, making it the largest blaze of the season so far, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

The fire reported Saturday is considered out of control. The cause is not yet known.

A series of lightning strikes has been blamed for eight other fires on the Island over the past several days. All of those fires are considered spot fires, or under a hectare in size.

Christi Howes of the Coastal Fire Centre said the wildfire service has deployed a “modified response” to the Nimpkish River fire — because no structures or human activity are near the blaze, a perimeter has been set up to observe the fire’s behaviour and start suppression techniques.

The fire is being monitored via aerial surveillance and ground crews, said Howes, and if it reaches certain “trigger points,” the wildfire service will decide whether more resources need to be deployed.

Howes said B.C. Wildfire Service crews have been assigned to the spot fires and are patrolling by foot and helicopter throughout the day to determine the response and locate any additional fires.

That includes exploring accessibility options for remote locations with difficult terrain, she said.

A two-hectare wildfire burning in Strathcona Park that ignited Aug. 14 is still classified as out of control by the wildfire service. Northeast of Burman Lake and in close proximity to the Golden Hinde — the Island’s highest peak — the area has extremely steep terrain, which means the response from fire crews is modified, as for the Nimpkish River fire.

Another five smaller wildfires burning on the Island are considered under control, although conditions could change: a 0.03-hectare fire near Skutz Falls Road, two spot fires on the mid-Island, and two spot fires between Nitinat Lake and Barkley Sound.

Amid rising temperatures and dry conditions that have led to fire-risk ratings on the Island ranging from ­moderate to extreme in some areas, ­members of the public are asked to respect campfire and burning prohibitions, Howes said.

Anyone spotting a wildfire can report it using the free B.C. Wildfire Service app, which includes a “Report a Fire” function that generates map co-ordinates and allows users to upload a photo.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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