UPDATE: Wildfire continues to burn near Great Central Lake

Two-hectare fire is suspected to be human-caused

Fire crews from the B.C. Wildfire Service and Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Department had a good handle on a two-hectare fire burning on Turtle Lake Road east of Great Central Lake after battling the small blaze Monday and Tuesday.

Although smoke appeared to pick up Wednesday evening, the Coastal Fire Centre says that the size of the fire has not increased.

“We have not called that fire out,” explained fire information officer Natasha Broznitsky. “What people are seeing…there can be areas of fuel within the area of the fire that can burn off and become more visible.”

Within B.C. Wildfire Service, “under control” means that a fire has received sufficient suppression action to ensure it will not spread.

A 10-person crew from Sproat Lake VFD and three B.C. wildfire crew members were on scene shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7 after receiving multiple reports of the fire approximately 20 kilometres west of Port Alberni. Sproat Lake also responded with an engine, a tanker and support truck on the Coastal Fire Centre’s request, fire Chief Mike Cann said.

The fire is burning in slash in an area that was logged late last fall or earlier this spring, Cann said. “There had been no industry activity in here for a while,” he added.

Although a definitive cause for the fire has not been determined, the Coastal Fire Centre is reporting that it is human-caused. “That’s what forestry is saying and the timber holder company is saying, is it’s person-caused, but it’s under investigation,” Cann said. He did not name the timber company.

Fighting a forest fire in the bush in the middle of the night is a challenge, Cann said. “The ground wasn’t too bad. It was dark and we worked slowly and carefully.”

The wind was calm at night, and that worked in the crews’ favour, he added. “That was a really good thing for us. The weather cooperated for us.”

Calls started coming in from Port Alberni late Monday, Aug. 6 that people could see flames out toward the Alberni Valley Regional Airport. It turned out the wildfire was burning east of Great Central Lake, between the lake and the airport. People in Port Alberni were posting on social media that they could see the flames from nearly 20 kilometres away.

“It’s a very small fire,” said Coastal Fire Centre Fire Information Officer Donna MacPherson on Tuesday morning.

Crews from Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. and B.C. Wildfire crews were still working in the area as of late Tuesday morning.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

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FIRE NEAR GREAT CENTRAL Flames from about one-quarter of the wildfire that broke out late B.C. Day near Great Central Lake can be seen in the early-morning hours of Tuesday, Aug. 7. The fire was burning east of Great Central, in the vicinity of Turtle Lake. Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. personnel responded to the fire, but the size of the blaze was unknown before the News went to press. ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS PHOTO

Smoke glowing over a wildfire in the Great Central Lake area could be seen from the Alberni Valley Regional Airport, early Tuesday morning, Aug. 7. A long exposure and lens compression have intensified the colour of the fire from this vantage point. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Smoke and flames from the fire east of Great Central Lake can be seen from Great Central Lake Road, early Tuesday morning, Aug. 7, 2018. Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. personnel were out at the scene before 1 a.m. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

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