Smoke spews out of the Wolf River Valley in Strathcona Park. The fire is being allowed to run its course as a natural factor.

Fire centre keeps eye on Wolf River

Grows to between 150 and 200 hectares in size due to strong winds last weekend

A forest fire burning in Strathcona Park is growing.

The Wolf River fire, started by a lightning strike on Aug. 18, has grown to between 150 and 200 hectares in size due to strong winds last weekend. When it first ignited, the fire occupied just two hectares.

Despite the growth, the Coastal Fire Centre says the fire will not be put out, but rather allowed to continue burning.

“This is called a modified response fire,” said Marg Drysdale, fire information officer at the Coastal Fire Centre. “BC Parks is comfortable with allowing it to continue burning to clean out the debris and help the things that need heat to grow. It’s good for growth in the forest.”

It’s also not posing any real danger.

“There is no threat to values, there is no threat to infrastructure, and there is no threat to humans,” Drysdale said. “It’s actually an environmentally-sound thing to allow the fire to continue.”

The fire is burning on a “really steep cliff face” on a mountainside to the west of Buttle Lake. Smoke from the fire can be seen billowing out of the mountains opposite the road to the Nyrstar (Myra Falls) mine.

Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday the smoke could also be seen in Campbell River due to warmer temperatures late last week.

Drysdale said smoke could be smelt from as far away as Parksville.

The Wolf River blaze is currently the largest wildfire on Vancouver Island and Drysdale said it’s expected to grow even further.

“BC Parks and Wildfire Management came up with a plan for the fire and have set trigger points,” she said. “If it reaches those trigger points, they will reassess and they may expand the trigger points or they may go in and maybe cool certain areas.”

To contain the fire, air tankers have laid fire retardant lines along the base of the fire to slow the blaze from moving further down the mountain and to tie into a natural land slide area south of the fire. Helicopters have periodically flown up to the fire to drop water on it in order to keep it cool.

Drysdale said the recent rainfall has helped. The fire was burning at a Rank Three – meaning it was quite aggressive and in some areas showing  open flame. But rain on Sunday and Monday dampened areas of the fire and lowered the rank. Drysdale said the fire does not pose a threat to Strathcona Park users or motorists using Highway 28.

Just Posted

Families learn to navigate the perils of the Internet

Speaker talks to Campbell River kids, parents about staying safe in a social media world

‘Priceless’ hat stolen from Indigenous art store in Campbell River during break-in

Ernie Smith, co-owner of Awatin Aboriginal Art, looking for help in recovering stolen hat

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

BC Hydro increasing flow down Elk Falls to assist steelhead migration and spawning

Water flows within Elk Falls Canyon are increasing today to assist steelhead… Continue reading

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could say the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read