All the fires in the Cowichan Valley that resulted from last week’s electrical storm, including the one pictured near Meade Creek, are now considered under control. (BC Wildlife Service)

South Vancouver Island fires sparked by electrical storm now under control

Rain last week assisted firefighters in tackling remote blazes in the Cowichan area

All the fires in the Cowichan Valley sparked by last week’s electrical storm are now considered under control.

Julia Caranci, a fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, said the fire near Lake Cowichan at Meade Creek that covered six hectares at its height, and the one near the Sooke Reservoir, which covered eight hectares at its height, are now considered in the “patrol phase”.

She said that means that while the fires may appear to be out, the CFC is continuing to monitor the sites until all the hot spots have been dealt with.

“We’ll continue to designate these sites as ‘under control’ and not considered completely out until that is done,” Caranci said.

“There are currently five fires considered active but under control in the south Island, and they include the ones at Meade Creek and near the Sooke Reservoir. Most are relatively small and they are providing no threats at this time to any structures or buildings.”

The electrical storm on Aug. 16 that saw the skies across the south Island the Lower Mainland crisscrossed with lightning for hours sparked at least 30 spot fires in the region covered by the Coastal Fire Service.

RELATED STORY: SEVERAL FIRES IN COWICHAN VALLEY BURNING OUT OF CONTROL AFTER ELECTRICAL STORM

They included a number of smaller fires in the Valley, other than the ones at Meade Creek and the Sooke reservoir, that are also now considered under control.

They were located on Mount Healey, near Reinhart Lake (Cowichan Lake area), Reinhart Creek (Cowichan Lake area), McGee Creek (Shawnigan Lake) and Holland Lake (Cowichan Lake area).

The CFC had a total of five unit crews, each consisting of 20 firefighters, 20 three-person initial attack crews, two four-man rappel firefighting crews, 17 helicopters and two contract crews assisting to help put out the fires in its jurisdictional area.

Caranci said the two days of rain late last week helped in the fire-fighting efforts.

“People generally put out fires like these ones, not rain, but the rain certainly helps hold them in place until they can be dealt with by our crews,” she said.

“Some of the fires were in difficult terrain, so the rain helped until we got to them.”

Environment Canada said approximately 1,600 lightning strikes occurred across southern Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and the western parts of the Lower Mainland during the storm.

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robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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