While the Alberni Valley didn’t have the biggest forest fire in the province nor the most dangerous, it certainly made its mark on the province.
From the first plume of smoke seen in the early afternoon hours of July 4, to the raging 425 hectare fire it became, it seemed like nothing stayed the same for long.
With that smoke came renewed criticism that the province had abandoned the Valley and that the response was too slow and too small when it finally did come.
It hit 125 ha by the afternoon of July 7, when the Coastal Fire Centre announced that it would battle the blaze via controlled burns. By noon of July 8 it had grown to 245 acres and by that night, social media based rumours that the fire had jumped from the Dog Mountain peninsula to the mainland Sproat Lake shores by Fossli Park had far exceeded the blaze itself.
B.C. Coastal Fire Centre fire information officer Marg Drysdale told the News that they had received an unprecedented number of calls about the Dog Mountain fire, even compared to larger fires elsewhere in the Coastal FIre Centre.
“We are getting a far greater volume of calls,” Drysdale said at the time. “We don’t mind people calling if they have legitimate concerns. But the ‘friend of a friend of a friend’ calls are concerning because it means people aren’t getting their information from the proper sources.”
In the end, the fire never jumped and was instead contained on the Dog Mountain peninsula thanks to the hard work of forestry firefighters.
It smouldered on throughout the warmer months and plans to reforest the area are currently still in their beginning stages.