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 new fire near Port Alberni grows

Beaufort Range fire still not under control: Coastal Fire Centre

The wildfire burning at the top of Arbutus Ridge, above the Alberni Inlet, has doubled in size and is now five hectares.

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

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 Dorothy Jacobsen 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 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.

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

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

CRD committee proposes ending livestock payouts to farmers

The bylaw has existed since the creation of the CRD’s animal control service in 1979

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read