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2023 was 'busiest fire season' for Coastal Fire Centre in the last decade

Aircraft attack an out-of-control wildfire near Port Alberni, B.C., on Thursday, June 8, 2023. (CTV News) Aircraft attack an out-of-control wildfire near Port Alberni, B.C., on Thursday, June 8, 2023. (CTV News)

According to Julia Caranci, a fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, 20 active wildfires remain burning throughout Vancouver Island while, after a summer of extreme drought, the fire danger rating has dropped to “very low”.

Throughout the summer, Vancouver Island remained in an “extreme fire rating”, meaning high risks of wildfires due to dry forest fuels. Campfire, backyard, and industrial fire prohibitions were put in place early in the season to minimize the possibility of human-caused fires.

“When we look at the overall picture of this year, we had 190 fires reported on Vancouver Island so far in the 2023 fire season, compared to 106 by this time last year,” said Caranci.

“It's been overall, in terms of number of fires, the busiest fire season (the Coastal Fire Centre) has seen in the last 10 years,” she added.

But with recent rainfall, drought conditions and wildfire risks have been alleviated, though conditions indicate that adverse impacts remain possible.

“We've really moved into a more fall-like weather pattern and we have seen some more significant rainfall over the last couple of weeks,” said Caranci. “That has lowered the fire danger rating on Vancouver Island quite significantly from where it was just two or three weeks ago.”

For the Strathcona region, a number of wildfires remain, though they are considered under control as they continue to be monitored. These include two of the Wolf Creek fires, 0.009 hectares, and Mount Con Reid, which encompasses 2,320 hectares.

Silverado Creek, 425 hectares, and Jacklah River, 122 hectares, are under control and continue to be monitored as well.

There are currently 13 fires that are under control throughout Strathcona Provincial Park.

Beginning on Sept. 27, campfire, backyard, and industrial burning prohibitions were lifted in the Coastal Fire Centre region, shared Caranci. But the Coastal Fire Centre asks that residents continue to use caution. Top Stories

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