A Conair tanker drops a load of fire retardant on the Arbutus Ridge fire burning above Alberni Inlet, mid-morning on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. Four firefighters can be seen standing on the ridge above the treeline where the retardant is coming out of the aircraft. CAROLE BARNETT PHOTO

Wind a concern as Arbutus Ridge fire grows to 20 hectares

Beaufort Range fire 80 percent contained

The wildfire burning at the top of Arbutus Ridge, above the Alberni Inlet, has ballooned in size from five hectares to 20.

The fire, which was first reported in the early-morning hours of Aug. 10, is burning near a logged area to the west of cellphone towers located at the top of the ridge. Flames and smoke could be seen from the waterfront between Canal Waterfront Park and Harbour Quay.

READ: Fire breaks out on Arbutus Ridge, above Alberni Canal

As of Friday night, the fire was listed as a “Fire of Note” on the BC Wildfire Service website.

An air tanker dropped retardant on the cell towers this morning, and an initial attack crew from B.C. Wildfire Service has been on the scene since early Friday morning, Coastal Fire Centre fire information assistant Dorthe Jakobsen said.

“I believe they are bucketing very heavily on that one today,” she added. Helicopters have been dropping buckets of water from “Bambi Buckets” suspended underneath the helicopter.

The city of Port Alberni noted on its Facebook page that fire crews, including members of the Port Alberni Fire Department, will be working through till dark.

The changing weather is a concern for the Arbutus Ridge fire, with winds picking up on the Alberni Inlet this afternoon.

“The wind is always a concern,” Jacobsen said. “This is a tricky day for fires. Our crews are well prepared for that and we’ll be watching very carefully.”

READ: Drone threatens aerial firefighting at Arbutus Ridge fire

The BC Wildfire Service was considering halting aerial operations on the Arbutus Ridge fire after learning that someone was illegally operating a drone in the area. “We can’t put our pilots at risk like this,” fire information officer Donna MacPherson said.

Any aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are automatically restricted from flying around a wildfire, as per Transport Canada rules, she said.

The Arbutus Ridge fire is one of three burning in the Alberni Valley this week.

The Beaufort Range fire above Cherry Creek is still 10 hectares and considered out of control. B.C. Wildfire Service has 20 firefighters, three helicopters and three pieces of heavy equipment working this fire as well as members from Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

“What they do is they try and contain it,” Jacobsen explained.

As of Friday evening, the Beaufort Range fire was 80 percent contained.

A fire at Turtle Lake east of Great Central Lake was first reported late Monday, Aug. 6. The four-hectare fire is considered contained. No information was given on whether this fire is completely out or not.

There was also a fire on the B.C. Wildfire Service interactive map listed as Museum Creek, but it has since been taken down. “It might have been just a smoke chase—someone reported smoke in the area,” Jacobsen said. “There is no fire there.”

The shifting weather is a concern for the Coastal Fire Centre, Jacobsen said. “Quite often they have personnel (on scene) at night. I suspect they would tonight with the shift in weather—we’re quite concerned. While we may not be working the fire, we’ll certainly be monitoring it.”

Despite growing calls from the public to put the famed Martin Mars waterbombers back into use to fight the fires burning close to home, Coulson Aviation owner Wayne Coulson said the Hawaii Mars could not be operational in time. There has been no call for the waterbombers to join the arsenal of aerial firefighting assets already in use.

READ: Martin Mars unlikely to see firefighting action in Port Alberni

RELATED: Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are past: Coulson




Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A helicopter with its Bambi Bucket attached stops at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport to refuel, Friday afternoon (Aug. 10, 2018). A 737 Firetanker owned by Coulson Aviation sits on the tarmac in behind the chopper. TONY SHUMUK PHOTO

Just Posted

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Mother passes SD70 trustee torch to daughter in Port Alberni

Jane Jones loses after one term, but proud of her daughter Connie Watts

ELECTION 2018: Sharie Minions named Port Alberni mayor

Haggard, Solda, Washington, Poon, Paulson and Corbeil named councillors

Four incumbents re-elected to School District 70 in Port Alberni

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board will have a new look

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Juanita Crook, a Kelowna oncologist, has seen 100 per cent success using brachytherapy to treat breast cancer in some patients.

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Most Read