Three wildfires, all believed to be human-caused, are burning out of control on Vancouver Island.
Since Sunday, the Coastal Fire Centre has responded to six new wildfires on the Island, said Natasha Broznitsky, spokeswoman for the Coastal Fire Centre.
The three out-of-control blazes are the Nanaimo Lakes wildfire, the Maple Mountain fire near Duncan and a fire burning near Lacy Lake in the Beaufort Range, north of Port Alberni.
“They are certainly a priority for the Coastal Fire Centre,” said Broznitsky.
The six new wildfires on Vancouver Island are an increase compared with what we’ve been seeing over the past two weeks, she said.
“Certainly, with an uptick in new wildfires we are encouraging the public to be very diligent any time they are enjoying the forest or doing an activity that could cause a wildfire. We certainly don’t want to have any more human-caused fires,” said Broznitsky.
There are 466 wildfires burning across B.C.
The Nanaimo Lakes wildfire, estimated to be 179 hectares, is under investigation. On Thursday, 55 firefighters, three helicopters and a fire management team continued to work on the blaze, located about 13 kilometres southwest of Nanaimo.
The fire is 25 per cent contained and an evacuation alert remains in place. Seventy-seven homes are in the evacuation-alert area to the east of the fire. One home is believed to be in the area under evacuation order, to the west of the fire.
Nanaimo Lakes Road and Nanaimo River Road are closed at South Forks Road.
The B.C. Wildfire Service, the Maple Bay Fire Department and two helicopters made good progress on the eight-hectare Maple Mountain fire on Thursday.
The wildfire appears to be settling down, but the evacuation alert remains in place for Osborne Bay Road from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West as a precaution, said the Municipality of North Cowichan.
The wildfire burning near Lacy Lake in the Beaufort Range, north of Port Alberni grew to 10 hectares overnight Wednesday. On Thursday, the B.C. Wildfire Service responded with 25 firefighters, three helicopters and three pieces of heavy equipment. Municipal firefighters, including the Cherry Creek Fire Dept., are also working on the fire, said Broznitsky.
A small fire that popped up west of Bowser on Wednesday night was extinguished by B.C. Wildfire Service crews Thursday afternoon, said Broznitsky.
A small two-acre fire south of Turtle Lake near Port Alberni is considered to be under control.
A small wildfire south of Port Renfrew near Highway 14 is also considered to be under control, said Broznitsky.