A sudden and intense thunderstorm caused havoc around the Alberni Valley, Tuesday morning.
Lightning strikes caused a power outage on Sixth Avenue that had fire crews scrambling to answer alarm calls, and a highly visible forest fire on Arbutus Ridge was reported numerous times to both 911 and the Coastal Fire Centre.
At the fall fairgrounds, coordinator Ann Siddall stepped onto the covered porch of the Kin Hut to speak with someone when a loud crack startled both of them. Lightning had struck one of the spar poles used for logger sports climbing events, peeling away a spiraled section of the 34-inch-thick pole like it was paper.
Spears of wood smashed the chain link fence surrounding the water pit and debris could be seen as far away as the animal barns.
The poles are insured, and will be replaced. “We probably won’t have them up for the fair,” Siddall said.