Wildfire burning near Sooke explodes in size due to high winds
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2018 11:13AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2018 6:33PM PDT
In just one day, a wildfire burning near Sooke jumped in size from 15 to 85 hectares, according to the Coastal Fire Centre.
The blaze burning at Tugwell Creek was estimated to be just four hectares a day earlier.
Early Wednesday, it had grown to 15 hectares, then 25 hectares and after 3 p.m. the Coastal Fire Centre reported it jumped to 35 hectares. As of 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, it was estimated to be 85 hectares.
The Coastal Fire Centre says the jump is due to heavy winds. The fire was at one point considered to be 50 per cent contained, but is now back to being 10 per cent contained. Crews also had to deal with spot flare-ups, hampering their efforts.
"We had an unexpected wind event yesterday overnight which has caused some challenges with that fire," said Coastal Fire Centre spokeswoman Dorthe Jakobsen.
The wildfire, discovered Monday, was burning in slash on a cutblock before moving into juvenile and mature timber as well as felled and bucked timber, the centre said.
No people or structures are considered to be at risk from the fire, which is suspected to be human-caused. Plumes of smoke could be seen for kilometres near the area.
Fifty-five firefighters were on scene late Wednesday afternoon with another 20 en route.
A total of six helicopters and air tankers were attacking the flames and the Coastal Fire Centre said it was setting up an incident management team as the blaze increased in size.
The fire is burning near a high-alpine beekeeping operation at Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery, the business told CTV News.
"We have 40 to 50 beehives in that area," said co-owner Dana Lecomte. "100,000 to 120,00 bees per hive, so that would be a pretty devastating loss. Probably half of our bee stock."
The B.C. government's fire danger rating for the area was listed as "high" as of Wednesday, and burning bans could be coming shortly.
Mid-island wildfire held to 14.5 hectares
Further north on the island, a wildfire burning at Nanaimo Lakes was held to 14.5 hectares overnight.
The fire centre said wrapping up the blaze would take some time because it was burning in felled and bucked timber, and firefighters have to carefully extinguish all embers.
That fire is also suspected to be human-caused, but an investigation into what sparked it is still underway.