Crews assembling after lightning storm sparks at least 10 wildfires on Vancouver Island

Lightning sparks island fires

A lightning storm that rolled over western and central Vancouver Island Wednesday sparked at least 10 wildfires.

All of the ignitions are considered “spot fires” of less than one hectare in size.

B.C. Wildfire Service crews have been assembled and are en route via helicopters to watch for spreading, said Nadia Linning, spokeswoman for the service.

“We had anticipated the lighting strikes and increased our prep level with additional resources on standby,” Linning said.

The fires are situated at Ralph River, Shepherd Creek, south of Homasum Lake, Della Falls, west of McBride Lake, north of Nahmint Lake, Nahmint River, Barkley Sound area, Nitinat Lake and northwest of Great Central Lake.

Lightning activity was expected to continue into Thursday.

“There is the possibility of more lightning strikes and possible fires, and we are watching for holdover fires,” said Linning, noting a lightning strike can smoulder several days before becoming an active fire.

The Island has so far had 25 fires reported this year, but all have been small in size. Conditions have been extremely dry and campfire bans were put in place last Thursday.

There have been 573 wildfires in the province so far this year, with most of the major fires in the Interior and southeastern regions.

There are currently 59 active fires in B.C. — 24 per cent considered out of control and 73 per cent caused by lightning.

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