More than 35 wildfires were burning on the North Island by Tuesday morning, while smoky conditions meant that an air quality advisory remained in place for Campbell River and other communities.
Lightning storms sparked a cluster of wildfires on Saturday, but some didn’t ignite until temperatures rose the following day, said Dorthe Jacobsen, a spokesperson for the Coastal Fire Centre.
“When the weather warms up, they pop up as full fires,” said Jacobsen, adding that fires extinguished during the weekend were quickly replaced by new ones. There were 38 fires burning north of Highway 28 by Tuesday morning, she said.
None of the fires posed an immediate threat to anyone’s home or business, said Jacobsen. But she noted that one small fire was burning just outside Zeballos, a tiny logging village located about 2.5 hours from Campbell River. Jacobsen said the fire was on “very steep terrain” making it inaccessible to firefighters.
“We’re currently out there trying to figure out how to fight that fire,” she said.
Will we got hit with lighting on Saturday morning had a fire start on the east side of the Village. Forest service kept looking at from the air, now we have a working fire. Forest service Will be in at first light from the air too hit the fire. Upper road to downtown closed.
— Zeballos Emergency (@zebepc1) August 14, 2018
A larger fire at Pinder Creek also flared up near the only road to Zeballos. Jacobsen said on Tuesday that the fire had grown to 40 hectares in size, and that it was “threatening the road.” There were 13 firefighters at the scene on Tuesday, she said.
An eight-hectare fire at Head Bay was also burning close to an access road for the village of Tahsis. But that fire had been 75 per cent contained by Tuesday morning, and 10 firefighters were on the scene, said Jacobsen.
The fire closest to Campbell River was at Buttle Lake, in Strathcona Provincial Park. Like most of this weekend’s fires, however, it was very small, measuring a fraction of a hectare.
There was also a 25-hectare fire at Vernon Lake and another measuring 15 hectares at Kaypit Lake. Jacobsen said that 10 firefighters were at Kaypit.