Wildfire burning near Sooke is now 50 per cent contained
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, July 5, 2018 10:38AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 5, 2018 6:34PM PDT
Fire crews appear to have gotten the upper hand on a wildfire burning 18 kilometres northwest of Sooke, according to the Coastal Fire Centre.
The fire at Tugwell Creek was estimated to have grown to 100 hectares and was zero per cent contained by the end of the day Wednesday.
The fire centre now estimates it to be 84 hectares in size and says it is 50 per cent contained as of Thursday afternoon.
The blaze is suspected to be human-caused, but an investigation into how it sparked is still underway.
Seventy-four firefighters, seven helicopters, an incident management team and multiple pieces of heavy equipment and water tankers have been deployed.
UPDATE: Crews are making good progress on the Tugwell Creek #BCwildfire and the fire is now 50% contained. The fire size remains at 84 ha, and helicopters are continuing to support crews by bucketing on the fire.— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) July 5, 2018
Wind helped spread the fire through slash and into mature and juvenile timber, while embers sparked spot fires that also challenged firefighters.
"They're making progress on suppression and we're preparing for similar weather as yesterday, but hoping for better conditions," said Coastal Fire Centre spokeswoman Dorthe Jakobsen.
Crews have also had to deal with a lack of available water, with "not a lot" of creeks or ponds in the region, the fire centre said.
The wildfire has produced massive plumes of smoke that can be seen and in some cases, smelled around the Capital Region, with many taking to social media to report the odour.
There is a wildfire outside Sooke! :( Everything smells like smoke— Jenni (@DrunkOnCats) July 5, 2018
Despite that, Environment Canada listed the Air Quality Health Index for the Victoria region as a 3, which is considered "low risk."
While it doesn't pose a significant health risk to the general public, Island Health said that communities closer to the active fire zone may be experiencing poorer air quality.
"Individuals who have respiratory problems such as asthma or chronic bronchitis, if affected by the smoke in the air, may wish to consider reducing strenuous outdoor activities or remain indoors," Island Health said in a statement. "They also may need to adjust their medications in the event the smoke is aggravating their underlying health condition."
The BC Wildfire Service lists the current fire danger rating for the South Island as "high," meaning forests fuels are very dry and new fires could start easily and burn vigorously.