A North Vancouver wildfire that was first spotted Wednesday (July 12) hasn’t grown in size in the last 24 hours and smoke in the area has visibly reduced.
Metro Vancouver Regional District, which is leading the attack on the wildfire, gave an update to the 0.3-hectare wildfire Thursday, noting there was minimal growth overnight and that the fire was “responding well” to supression efforts.
B.C. Wildfire Service says it received more than 700 reports to the Provincial Wildfire Reporting Centre for the fire.
People can report fires by calling 1-800-663-5555 or or texting *5555. There is also the BC Wildfire Service app for smart phones.
Emergency operations centre director Brant Arnold-Smith told reporters that the focus was on ground crews and identifying and targeting hotspots, while crews also continue to conduct danger-tree assessments. He said the fire is burning deep in the ground and affecting the stability of some trees.
The regional district is currently in the process of establishing a helipad to help deliver items and personnel to the site.
The fire was first discovered around 4:15 Wednesday, east of the Seymour River, in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.
“It is a very rugged, secluded area. There’s a lot of hiking that needed to happen to get into the area,” explained Arnold-Smith, noting that it takes about an hour and a half through thick brush to reach the site.
“This is tough work and it is dangerous work.”
As for the cause, that it still under investigation. B.C. Wildfire Service lists the suspected cause as human, noting that “humans start wildfires in several ways, either by accident or intentionally.”
However, Arnold-Smith pointed to a possible lightning strike. Crews saw evidence of a lightning strike on a tree.
“It is not uncommon for a lightning strike to occur and then days later, depending on the conditions, the lightning strikes have a small smouldering fire that hasn’t been noticed deep in a gully suddenly spark up and ignite into something larger.”
The wildfire in the LSCR is responding positively to suppression operations and has not growing in size. Two helicopters are bucketing water and smoke has visibly reduced. We are grateful for the hard work of wildfire crews on the ground and those providing aerial support. pic.twitter.com/wmZpUD8RY7
— MVRD Emergency Services (@metrovanemerg) July 13, 2023
B.C. has “received lots of lightning strikes in the last week,” somewhere in the 20,000-mark, he said.
“It’s a remote area in a gully, so it’s very rare to find people in that area.”
But he wouldn’t fully rule out it being human caused.
“Natural events like lightning, and also human-caused fires such as those from ignition sources really pose a risk to our green spaces and regional parks during this hot, dry weather.”
He added the region hasn’t seen any rain since June 19, so our green spaces are very dry and very susceptible to any sort of ignition sources.”
It comes as all of the province – with the exception of Haida Gwaii – came under a campfire ban on Monday, with more than 1.2 million hectares having burned in the province since April 1.