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Highway 4 re-opening remains ‘on schedule’ as wildfire is under control

Highway 4 east of Port Alberni has been closed since June 6 due to wildfire
Danger tree falling has been completed over Highway 4 at Cameron Bluffs. The landscape looks different as the fire continues to smoulder, but is considered ‘under control.’ (BC WILDFIRE SERVICE PHOTO)

Highway 4 east of Port Alberni is on track to open to limited single-lane alternating traffic by this weekend, as the fire burning on Cameron Bluffs is now under control.

Crews with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure say they have cleared the affected stretch of highway of fallen trees and debris from the hillside above and are installing temporary safety measures to allow the highway to re-open.

Highway 4 has been closed since June 6 and is expected to re-open on June 24 or 25.

READ MORE: Helijet adds special flights between Port Alberni, Nanaimo during Highway 4 closure

Safety measures include the installation of a temporary concrete barrier wall in the eastbound lane of Highway 4, as well as protective mesh curtains suspended by cranes. These will act as barricades to potential falling rocks and trees as the slope continues to recover from the wildfire.

Approximately 124 metres of roadside barrier have been installed so far on the Cameron Lake side of the highway, while materials are on site for the concrete barrier wall to be installed in the eastbound lane. There are 32 pieces of equipment and approximately 50 people working on the site.

While it is still listed as 229 hectares, BC Wildfire Service classifies the Cameron Bluffs fire as “under control,” meaning that suppression efforts have ensured the wildfire will not spread any further. An update on the fire posted Monday morning (June 19) noted that danger tree falling on the north flank above Highway 4 has been completed and that the fire continues to smoulder with some spots of open flame.

READ MORE: Child-care worker separated from her own toddler due to Highway 4 closure

BC Wildfire Service crews are continuing to patrol the fire and extinguish hot spots in accessible terrain. Air support is in place for areas in terrain that ground crew cannot reach.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says that the Highway 4 detour to Lake Cowichan will remain open until Highway 4 is fully open. Telus has established a mobile cellular tower at the midpoint of the detour, which provides a cellular reception range of approximately one kilometre.

Highway crews remove rocks, trees and other debris from Highway 4. (PHOTO COURTESY MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE)

About the Author: Alberni Valley News Staff

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