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Rain slows down Vancouver Island wildfire, detour route reopens

Rain overnight Friday provided some relief for a wildfire burning out of control near Port Alberni, B.C., as crews continue to battle the blaze that shut down the only paved roadway connecting the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island.

Due to the precipitation, the fire is “not very active today,” Donna MacPherson, information officer with Coastal Fire Centre told CTV News Saturday afternoon. “It's not growing much, but it is growing,” she said.

The Cameron Bluffs wildfire, which is believed to be human-caused, has grown to 208 hectares since it was discovered one week ago.

Currently 76 firefighters, four helicopters and 10 pieces of heavy equipment are working to contain the fire from all four flanks, MacPherson said.

Thankfully, the fire is growing uphill, not toward any inhabited communities or the ancient forest of Cathedral Grove. “It’s just climbing the rock slope slowly,” she said.

The mountainous terrain makes firefighting efforts challenging. “It's an incredibly steep terrain, and it's very unstable ground, so there's lots of rolling rocks and sliding rocks—so it's pretty slow going for crews, right now,” MacPherson said.

Even though there has been some rain, the information officer emphasized that open fire bans are still in place.


The detour established Wednesday to connect Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet with the rest of the province as Highway 4 remains closed reopened Friday evening, B.C. transportation officials said.

The detour, a four-hour route along logging roads through remote and rugged terrain, was shut down for most of the day while a vehicle that rolled into Francis Lake was being retrieved.

The transportation of essential goods, such as fuel and food, is being prioritized on the detour. As such, officials announced that starting Sunday, four piloted convoys will escort commercial vehicles daily along the route to and from Port Alberni until further notice.

The departure times are daily at 5 a.m. leaving Lake Cowichan, at 10 a.m. leaving Port Alberni, at 3 p.m. leaving Lake Cowichan, and at 8 p.m. leaving Port Alberni.

Commercial vehicles are permitted to travel outside of those times, but there will be no pilot vehicles outside of the schedule, a statement from the transportation and infrastructure ministry explained.

Other drivers will be placed behind the convoy, the statement continued.

Transportation officials said the next update on a possible Highway 4 reopening will be provided after the weekend. Top Stories

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