A section of Nanaimo River Road close to where a wildfire is currently burning. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

A section of Nanaimo River Road close to where a wildfire is currently burning. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

Crews combatting fire in Nanaimo Lakes area

Wildfire grows after early estimate of 50 hectares

UPDATE: A fire in the Nanaimo Lakes area has gotten larger.

Crews have been combatting a fire southwest of the city since yesterday, but despite those efforts, the fire has grown to 75 hectares in size, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. Earlier this morning, it was calculated at 50 hectares.

“The change in size was due to fire growth,” said Natasha Broznitsky, a fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, adding that the fire is still classified as “out of control.” She said air tankers were brought in today to assist.

“The resources may change a little bit going into tomorrow, but that remains to be seen,” she said.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy issued a smoky skies bulletin for Monday due to smoke from the Nanaimo Lakes wildfire collecting in parts of the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley.

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke mayaffect your health,” the advisory notes.

The smoky skies bulletin advises that people stop or reduce their activity level if they become short of breath or ifthey don’t feel well. People should also try to stay cool and drink fluids. For more information, click here.

Broznitzky said Monday morning that crews were establishing control lines on Sunday and also did some small-scale controlled burns of potential fuel sources between the control lines and the edge of the fire.

Today, there are five helicopters, two pieces of heavy equipment and 36 personnel on scene. Air tanker support will be requested if necessary, Broznitsky said. She added that the fire is “easily accessible” for crews.

“It’s going to be quite hot today, which could help the fire behaviour get a little bit higher, but we aren’t expecting high winds in general, so likely we won’t have as many issues with winds as we would on other days,” she said.

The fire was initially reported as two hectares yesterday.

There are no recommendations regarding evacuation orders or alerts and “there are no threats to communities atthis time,” Broznitsky said.

The Regional District of Nanaimo “activated” a Level 1 emergency operations centre Monday morning, according toan RDN press release, and advised of possible road closures near the fire.

The RDN said the fire is burning in a northerly direction and “smoke is highly visible in the area and expected to continue to be today.”

“The Coastal Fire Region is currently in a high to extreme rating and all campfires are banned. The hot and dry weather is expected to continue for the next few days, therefore extreme caution is recommended,” noted the RDN press release.

The fire is thought to be person-caused, according to B.C. Wildfire Service.

RELATED: Campfire bans issued around B.C.