B.C. wildfires: Donnie Creek growing, Vancouver Island fires spring up

B.C. is already experiencing a bad wildfire season, especially in the northeastern part of the province, but Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland have recently started burning at a more active rate.

The Donnie Creek Fire between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson is still classified as out of control. After burning for nearly a month, it is among the largest wildfires in B.C., estimated as being over 240,000 hectares in size, according to the BC Wildfire Service. The risk from the fire has prompted evacuation orders for parts of the Peace River region.

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Fire Information Officer Julia Caranci says the Donnie Creek Fire has grown to that size because crews intentionally ignited two blazes to help control it.

“We have to use other methods — and burning is fighting fire with fire — we burn a line … in front of the fire and it burns off the fuels and we are in control of that,” she said. “After that burn is complete, we are able to move the fire to an area that we have pre-planned, and then we can move crews into that area and safely fight that fire.”

Caranci tells CityNews these methods are used to create a safer environment for crews to fight the fire.

“When a fire is burning at the intensity and strength that this fire has been burning at, often it’s not safe for crews to be directly fighting it. It’s too dangerous.”

Two Vancouver Island wildfires spring up

Meanwhile, more wildfires are starting to spring up on Vancouver Island.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Cameron Bluffs Fire is out of control and was discovered Saturday. It is currently burning at 20 hectares.

The fire is suspected of being human-caused and presents a difficult job for crews as it sits on a cliffside above a highway.

“This area is accessible only by the Cameron Lake Bluffs Trail, also known as trail C-100,” the BC Wildfire Service said in a tweet.

A map shows where a wildfire sits in regards to a lake and provincial park.

The Cameron Bluffs fire is burning atop a cliffside next to a highway, a lake, and a provincial park. (Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service)

If it grows, the Cameron Bluffs Fire presents a risk to a nearby tourist attraction as well. MacMillan Provincial Park is home to Cathedral Grove, an old-growth forest full of giant Douglas fir trees.

However, the most notable fire on Vancouver Island is still burning near Sayward. The Newcastle Creek Fire is burning at 208 hectares in size, but the BC Wildfire Service says it was being held as of Sunday.

B.C. wildfire statistics

The Prince George Fire Centre has the most fires under its jurisdiction with 44, while the Coastal Fire Centre now has the second most burning with 10.

As of Monday evening, there are 76 active fires in B.C., with 11 starting in the previous 24 hours. Of the active fires, 33 are considered human-caused.

22 of these fires are currently out of control, while 46 are under control and eight are being held.

With files from Maria Vinca

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