Fire crews suppress smouldering fire on North Island near Highway 19

Wildfire has reached .25 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service

Smoke hung in the air north of Campbell River on Wednesday morning as crews suppressed a smouldering ground fire.

The fire was caused by winds that knocked a tree onto a power line around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Dorthe Jakobsen of the Coastal Fire Centre.

The fire broke out directly beside Highway 19 near Rock Bay Forest Service Road, 28 km north of Campbell River.

Firefighters worked among burned-out shrubs and charred tree trunks on Wednesday morning as smoke continued to rise from debris on the ground.

Traffic was initially closed, and then reduced to a single alternating lane on Highway 19 Tuesday evening, but it was flowing freely as of 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Flaggers were on stand-by.

Jakobsen said drivers can expect delays and occasional disruption of flow as suppression operations continue.

By Wednesday morning, the fire was listed as 0.25 hectares in size. Jakobsen said the Rank 1 fire was “being held” but that it continued to smoulder.

“We have two initial attack crews working to suppress the fire,” Jakobsen said.

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A firefighter on-site said the fire wasn’t expected to grow. Two crews of three firefighters were working on the fire, he said.

A video posted to social media on Tuesday by North Island resident Don Baker showed flames rising from the woods beside the highway.

Very dry conditions and record-breaking heat have sparked concerns about another intense wildfire season this year. Areas of land in B.C. torched by wildfires linked to climate change have smashed provincial records for two consecutive years.

-With files from Alistair Taylor, Campbell River Mirror

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Screengrab from BC Wildfire Service.

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