Hopes rise in Port Renfrew wildfire battle

A wildfire still covers 250 hectares near Lizard Lake, northeast of Port Renfrew, but the B.C. Wildfire Service believes it will shrink in the coming days.

About 110 firefighters battled the blaze Tuesday, up from 90 on Monday, fire information officer Ellie Dupont said. Water tankers also gave support.

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The wildfire remains 20 per cent contained, but water storage units and hoses have been arranged around 50 per cent of the fire, she said.

“We’re very optimistic,” Dupont said. “Even though the containment number hasn’t changed, they’ve done a lot of good work.”

Conditions Tuesday were good for firefighting, she said, unlike the end of last week, when fog and smoke reduced visibility and posed a hazard for pilots and crews on the ground. “There’s a bit of wind blowing, but the visibility has been good,” she said.

Dupont said reports that the Martin Mars water bomber is scheduled to drop water on the blaze are false; however, resources can be reallocated quickly.

The fire, two kilometres north of Lizard Lake and 11.5 kilometres northeast of Port Renfrew, was discovered Aug. 12. It’s believed to be human-caused.

The fire is burning on both sides of Pacific Marine Road, which runs between Port Renfrew and Lake Cowichan. The road is closed, with checkpoints in place near the bridge adjacent to the Pacheedaht campground and the road junction in Mesachie Lake. Crews are extinguishing hotspots and removing debris along the road.

The Lizard Lake and Fairy Lake recreation sites are closed.

Highway 14 to Port Renfrew is not affected by the fire.

The most active sides of the fire on the north and east edges are burning into forested land and do not pose a threat to structures, homes or communities at this time, the B.C. Wildfire Service says.

asmart@timescolonist.com

Lizard Lake fire

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