UPDATE: Evacuation alert lifted for residents of Maple Mountain area

RCMP are also looking for information people might have about a suspicious man reported in the area

After more than 72 hours of work, firefighters were leaving Maple Mountain late Saturday afternoon, and an evacuation alert for nearby residents was lifted.

”Crews will continue to work on hot spots and monitor the area, and will continue doing so for the next week,” the Municipality of North Cowichan said in an announcement late on Saturday afternoon.

“Trails on Maple Mountain remain closed.

“If you know anyone from the Cowichan-area fire departments or the BC Wildfire Service, please share the community’s thanks.”

North Cowichan’s four fire halls — Crofton, Maple Bay, Chemainus, and South End — were joined over the three days by crews from Duncan, Sahtlam, Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith, and Lantzville.

Three helicopters, several fire planes and seven fire departments along with the BC Wildfire Service were called in Wednesday when the fire, which is suspected to be human-caused, was first reported. Firefighters have been working since then to put out the blaze, which grew to as large as eight hectares.

RCMP are also looking for any information people might have about a suspicious man reported in the area around the time and place where the fire started.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

The fire is in the Municipality of North Cowichan’s municipal forest reserve, and Maple Mountain is a popular spot for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other recreational activities. It is also close to the village of Crofton and outlying residential areas.

So far no structures have been threatened by the fire, but an evacuation alert went out Wednesday and continues for residents on Osborne Bay Road east from Herd Road to Tatlo Road west. Under the alert, residents are asked to be ready to leave their homes within 30 minutes in the event of an evacuation order.

Citizens are reminded to stay clear of the area to allow for emergency crews to have the space they need.

A separate fire flared up near Southview Terrace off Herd Road near Maple Bay on Friday night. Several crews responded and had the fire extinguished in about two and a half hours.

New information from the municipality is available at www.northcowichan.ca/FireEvent

For alerts from North Cowichan, sign up for e-alerts at www.northcowichan.ca/eAlert

RELATED: Helicopters arrive to help battle wildfire near Port Alberni

RELATED: Nanaimo Lakes wildfire growing, but crews gaining some containment

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