The larger of the two fires burned 12.5 hectares near Marilou Creek over the weekend. Photo supplied by BC Wildfire Service

Wildfires burning northwest of Campbell River

Two fires located near Marilou Creek under various stages of control

Two wildfires were burning northwest of Campbell River.

Both fires were in an area near the Salmon River and Marilou Lake, approximately 30 kilometres from the city. The fires were within one kilometre of each other.

The smaller of the two fires was four hectares, and was under control on Friday, with crews patrolling to monitor spread, according to Dorthe Jakobsen from the Coastal Fire Centre. A second larger fire at 12.5 hectares was more difficult to contain, but by Monday that fire was also classified as under control. A crew of 20 firefighters were on scene, with three pieces of heavy equipment and one water tender on site over the weekend. The fires were scanned on Monday and hot spots were found. A three-person crew was working to extinguish those spots.

“We’re working toward containment on that and good progress is being made.” Jakobsen said.

The smaller fire was discovered on April 11, and the second was discovered on April 14. Both are human caused, she added. On Sunday, a small 0.1 hectare fire was started by a motor vehicle. As of Monday it was under control and further patrols of the area would be under way in the coming days.

“We do quite often get some fires this time of year. What often happens is people think ‘oh it’s April, no problem, this fire won’t get away from me.’ But we have seen in many recent years that it is drier than people suspect, so people really do need to be more careful. It’s one of the reasons we put on a provincial burn ban, along with the COVID-19 concerns of course,” said Jakobsen.

BC Hydro reported drier-than-normal conditions earlier this month, after the region received less-than-average rainfall since January 2020. The BC Wildfire Service implemented an open burning ban across the province that came into effect on Thursday, April 16 at noon. While campfires are still allowed provincially, people are asked to be careful and to follow best practices when having a fire. Local restrictions still apply.

The area is currently under a moderate fire danger rating, which means “forest fuels are drying and there is an increased risk of surface fires starting.” Fire danger ratings are updated daily.

“The drying trend that we’re seeing is affecting our fire danger rating, so those things can change quite quickly. After a week of hot sunny weather you can start to see some increased fire danger ratings,” Jakobsen said.

People are asked to call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 to report wildfires.

This story has been updated.

RELATED: BC Hydro contends with drier-than-normal conditions on the Campbell River system

Province extends COVID-19 fire ban until June 15

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