Friday, July 19, 2024

32 wildfires rage across Vancouver Island as drought conditions flourish

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As the record setting droughts and wildfires continue to thrive across BC and the rest of Canada, Vancouver Island has been seeing higher numbers of fires. 

While the island’s fires have been much smaller than some of the ones that are impacting people in much of the interior, precarious weather conditions could spring up and worsen the situation at any moment. 

There are currently 32 wildfires on Vancouver Island and 411 access the whole of the province. 

Of those fires on the island, 20 are considered out of control which means they are continually spreading, four are being held meaning they aren’t expected to spread and eight are under control which means they won’t spread. 

The largest of the wildfires on the island is the Mount Con Reid fire. It is currently over 2,300 hectares large and still out of control. 

It was discovered over a month ago on August 6th and has been in a ‘monitor only’ state since its discovery. 

This means that because it is located deep in Strathcona Provincial Park and isn’t putting any crucial infrastructure at risk, it is not a priority for the BC Wildfire Service. 

Despite that designation, crews are keeping an eye on it and will attack it if it becomes a risk to structures, roads or powerlines. 

Of the wildfires on the island, the oldest is the Newcastle Creek fire. It was discovered on May 29th and has fluctuated states a few times but for the last several weeks it has remained with the designation of being held. 

All these fires were either started by human activity or adverse weather conditions including lightning.


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A state of emergency was declared on August 18th which granted the provincial government special powers to restrict travel and accommodations while tens of thousands of evacuees fled their homes and sought temporary places to stay. 

At the end of August, the province officially extended the state of emergency until September 14th; however, there are no current travel bans or accommodation restrictions in place on a provincial level. 

The most recent development on behalf of the province is that now, Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) is available to communities who have been most heavily impacted from the fires and evacuated from their homes. 

DFA is meant to aid First Nations and local governments to repair damaged public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and other publicly owned infrastructure not covered by insurance.

With summer coming to a close and autumn on the air, the province still has a fire ban which disallows any and all fires with the exception of propane-based fire sources. 

The province urges British Columbians to remain diligent and continue to think about their actions when it comes to fires and report any fire they see to BC Wildfire Service. 

mm
Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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