The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)

Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

Despite one fire burning on Vancouver Island near Gold River, the area’s forests came out of the winter in good shape heading into this year’s wildfire season.

According to the Coastal Fire Centre, the area didn’t start the fire season in a drought, however, the past two weeks presented warm and dry weather with low relative humidity, said Donna MacPherson, fire information officer with the organization.

“The surface of the forest … is the area without roots and is full of branches, twigs and dead leaves. It hasn’t hit the ‘green-up’ where weeds and grasses are up yet and creates a shelter over the dryer debris, and shelters it from the sun and wind,” she explained. “Right now, we’re in a moderate fire rating danger for Vancouver Island.”

On April 19, a small fire – 4.5 hectares – began on steep slopes about 70 km west of Courtenay. The cause is under investigation, but the centre has confirmed that it was caused by human activity and crews are on scene.

Currently, the long-range forecast is calling for an average fire season and MacPherson is hopeful the season will start “well-hydrated as we go back to seasonal weather. Typically June is cooler and wet and it holds us through the dryer months.”

RELATED: Wildfire burning in remote area near Gold River

As the unusually warm temperatures are set to change to more seasonal conditions, the centre is welcoming rain that is predicted to blanket the area for the next week.

“Right now, we don’t have any (fire) prohibitions in place. People might be surprised how dry it is. We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful – that means if you do have a fire, you ensure you have a means of putting it out, keeping it small and in control, if it’s windy you put it out, and when you leave, the area is cold to the touch – that’s the key. If you just put water on a fire it quickly gets evaporated and you can’t just walk away.”

Looking towards the summer, McPherson added the centre is aware that more people will likely be recreating outdoors due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. She encourages as many people to enjoy the outdoors but to do it safely.

“We understand getting to a forest is good for your soul. There are a lot of reservations in parks and they are often full, and there is naturally spillover onto Crown land.”

She hopes more people will enjoy the forest this summer, but cautions if using fire, to be careful and respectful. As the forest begins to dry out, the very thing people are enjoying can be the very thing putting people at risk, she noted. With warmer weather set to arrive in the next few months, more crews will also come online.

“We’re very aware of the weather, and we’re asking the public not to give a fire a home run.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushes B.C. government to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY – A woman in business: Caroline Throup

Elida Peers | Contributed Who was it that said “Women in Business”… Continue reading

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read