South Island wildfires under control, officials say

Six wildfires burning on the South Island this week have been contained or under control.

The fires were spread out in an area from Shirley to Port Renfrew.

The wildfires began from controlled fires where forest companies burn slash, branches and other forest debris in a designated area. The wildfires went beyond the perimeters of the provincially-approved fire plan, said fire information officer Donna MacPherson.

None of the fires posed a risk to houses or B.C. Hydro transmission lines.

The biggest blaze, dubbed the Priest Cabin fire, took out more than 40 hectares, 1.5 kilometres inland from the Bragg Creek bridge.

Initially, seven B.C. Wildfire firefighters, 10 forest company workers and two water trucks were used to battle the blaze. The fire is now deemed under control, and logging company employees are mopping up the area and monitoring it.

The other fires are at French Holme Creek, East Muir forestry road, Camper Creek Main, San Juan River and Fleet River.

RELATED: Six wildfires reported on South Island

This week’s fire were caused by a “weird weather event,” said MacPherson.

“We had summertime warm temperature and dry air (less than 30 per cent humidity),” she said

“The two together dried the slash piles, and the fires became more active. The moment they moved beyond from the defined area within the burn plan then it becomes a wildfire.”

RELATED: Human activity likely cause of fire on Mount Manuel Quimper

The six fires are called crawling fires where they creep along the forest fires burning up dry leaves and shrubs and the occasional dead tree. Most fires don’t exceed knee height.

The tide began to turn for firefighters Thursday when cooler and wet weather came into the area. The trend is expected to continue over the next week.

Shirley is about 20 kilometres west of Sooke.

To report a wildfire, please call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 from a cellphone.

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