Zeballos under evacuation alert over nearby wildfire
Residents on the east side have been told to grab their emergency kits, clothes, important documents and mementos and be ready to leave on short notice. (Photo: Jen Joseph)
A looming forest fire has put part of the Village of Zeballos on evacuation alert.
Residents on the east side have been told to grab their emergency kits, clothes, important documents and mementos and be ready to leave on 30 minutes notice.
Zeballos is a remote village of just over 100 people on the northwest part of Vancouver Island.
It’s a mecca for fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts and there are many tourists visiting the area.
The fire was sparked on a steep mountain side during the lightning storms on the weekend.
Due to its location fire crews have had difficulty fighting it.
People living nearby tell CTV News they’ve never had a scare like this.
Adrian O’Connor from Reel Obsession Sport Fishing Lodge has had to move guests to a safer location as the fire is just several hundred metres away.
“During the days they seem to get it a little bit under control and then the evening winds coming from the north start to push it back down towards town and down the mountain again,” said O’Connor. “It’s just a little too close for comfort and this feeds my family and is our livelihood … it’s a little scary thinking it could not possibly be here.”
The Zeballos Fire Department has been soaking the forest and homes close to the slope with help from the BC Wildfire Service.
A chopper is also dropping buckets of water on the fire.
“We have to unfortunately wait until that fire moves into a place we can fight it from so while it’s still on the mountain and it’s backing down slowly there’s not a lot we can do,” said Donna MacPherson with the BC Wildfire Service. “Once it gets into some workable ground we’ll be able to start working to put control lines and prevent it from moving any further.”
There’s a second fire burning along the road in and out of Zeballos. That one is 10 per cent contained.
According to the BC Wildfire Service, in the last two days 59 new fires have sparked on Vancouver Island because of lightning.