Several small lightning-caused fires that broke out in Strathcona Park last week are now under control, according to the Coastal Fire Centre. Campbell River Mirror file photo

Extreme wildfire risk prompts ‘high risk activity’ ban

Restrictions come into effect as firefighters bring Strathcona Park flare-ups under control

An “extreme” fire danger class for Campbell River and the region means restrictions on the use of power saws and other “high risk activities” that could spark a wildfire.

“Primarily it’s tied to industrial activity,” said Thomas Doherty, chief of the Campbell River Fire Department. “We are asking those that are in the industrial sector that they need to follow the Wildfire Act.”

Even a small spark from a power tool could result in a blaze, he said.

READ MORE: Campbell River fire chief urges residents to respect fire ban

Under provincial wildfire regulations, high-risk activities include setting off fireworks and preparing explosives. But they also include forestry activities in cutblocks, such as operating a power saw, welding or using a portable wood chipper.

For example, during periods of extreme fire danger, people cutting firewood must have a designated “fire watcher” on staff to monitor the site for at least two hours after work is complete. And the work has to stop between 1 p.m. and sunset.

Weather stations near Campbell River, including the Menzies and Quinsam stations, have indicated extreme danger for more than a week, according to the Coastal Fire Centre (CFC). Most of eastern Vancouver Island is currently under conditions of extreme fire danger.

The fire risk for most of eastern Vancouver Island is currently rated at “extreme.” Image from BC Wildfire Service

Despite cooler temperatures and a chance of rain this week, people should be cautious, said Doherty.

“Don’t let the precipitation fool you,” he said. “We’re going to need a substantial amount of rain over a period of days before anything really changes.”

Meanwhile, by Wednesday afternoon, crews and helicopters were still fighting the small wildfires that flared up last week in Strathcona Park, near the Myra Falls mine, but those lightning-caused fires were considered “under control,” according to the CFC.

@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

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