An evacuation alert has been issued by the Cowichan Valley Regional District to one property owner on Mount Prevost due to a new wildfire that was reported last night, Aug. 5, in the Copper Canyon area along Holyoak Creek.
Just one day after a small wildfire in the Chemainus River Provincial Park was declared under control, this new wildfire started on the north slope of Mount Prevost.
On Friday morning, Aug. 6, the CVRD issued an evacuation alert to 7990 Mount Prevost Rd., “because of the potential danger to life and health.” The fire is about 10 hectares in size, they said.
An evacuation alert is given so people can prepare to evacuate their property if it becomes necessary. Some things people should do in that situation include locating all family members, packing essential items like ID, medications and valuable papers, preparing to move disabled persons or children, preparing to move pets and livestock, fill gas tanks on personal vehicles so they are ready for use, arranging alternate accommodation, and monitoring information and media sources for any change to the situation.
The fire was reported near midnight on Thursday, Aug. 5. When crews arrived on the scene they discovered a vigorous surface fire powered by high winds. The high winds forced crews to back off from the fire area to ensure their safety. However, the morning brought calm winds and cloud coverage to help with the fire effort.
There have been no alerts issues for properties on the Mount Sicker Road side where smoke could be seen billowing up from behind Little Mount Sicker, but residents are keeping a close eye on developments.
“It’s close to home and it’s dry,” said Tree Mosicki.
“It was really windy up there last night,” said Bob Morris who’s lived in the area for 18 years. “Keeping an eye on it, yeah.”
A helicpoter could be seen from the Mount Sicker side gathering water from Holyoak Lake at the back of Mount Brenton to fight the fire beyond the hillside. Residents like Morris are taking precautions, just in case the fire expands and heads in their direction with stronger winds whipping up again Friday afternoon.
“Normally, I’ve got 300 feet of hose laid out for my irrigation well,” he indicated. “I normally do that.”
Residents woke up to thick smoke from the source, but much of it started to disperse toward Chemainus and even north to Ladysmith as the winds intensified. It’s believed the winds could have even sparked the blaze from the nearby Chemainus River Provincial Park fire.
“It was all socked in this morning,” said Morris. “This can be a real wind tunnel up here.”
The BC Wildfire Service says the fire has been downgraded from a Rank Three fire to a Rank One fire.
The fire is currently out of control. Fourteen firefighters, an officer, two aircraft and water tenders are working to get the fire under control.
Smoke from the fire is impacting the Cowichan Valley region, but there are no air quality advisories in effect at this time.
Crews have not determined the exact cause of the fire. The BC Wildfire Dashboard shows the Holyoak Creek fire is the only active wildfire currently burning on Vancouver Island.