Sayward-area fire grows to 21 hectares; crews confident they’ll gain upper hand

A forest fire burning near Sayward grew to 21 hectares Sunday but was expected to be under control Sunday night or today.

“We had 34 firefighters and a helicopter working on that today,” Coastal Fire Centre information officer Dorthe Jakobsen said Sunday.

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The Sayward Fire Department and the B.C. Wildfire Service were notified of the fire next to Frenchman Road Friday. At that point, it was between five and seven hectares.

Firefighters will continue to monitor the fire probably for the next week, she said.

One home was evacuated as a precaution but the fire is not threatening any structures. The fire is believed to be human caused but that remains under investigation, Jakobsen said.

Another fire discovered Saturday night near Rough Creek north of Jordan River is burning out of control.

“It’s two-and-a-half to three hectares in size. There’s seven firefighters and two helicopters currently on site and 15 more firefighters currently en route,” said Jakobsen.

“We don’t have any containment or control on it at this moment. It’s in the initial attack stage. We don’t have enough suppression action on it yet. It’s small still.”

The fire is not threatening any structures, she said.

Firefighters have warned of greater wildfire risk due to the record-breaking heat this month.

Since the start of B.C.’s wildfire season on April 1, there have been 21 fires in the coastal fire region, including 12 on Vancouver Island, Jakobsen said. The seasonal average in the region, which includes Haida Gwaii and B.C.'s south coast, is 10.

The increase is likely due to lower-than-normal precipitation levels in the winter into spring, she said.

“We haven’t had the snow, we haven’t had the rain we normally see. Things are dry and the warm temperatures absolutely contribute to the danger,” said Jakobsen.

Jakobsen reminded the public to make sure open fires are completely extinguished and the embers are cold to the touch.

If you spot a wildfire, report it as soon as possible by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cell phone.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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