A wildfire near Port Hardy did not grow in size overnight, but persistent dry, hot weather and strong winds are contributing to what the Mayor deems a “volatile situation.”
Paula Mackay, Fire Information Officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, said that the main fire, measured at 16 hectares, is 20% contained, and the 1 hectare spot fire is 80% contained.
The fire is considered a rank 1 at this time, a smouldering ground or creeping surface fire, according to Coastal Fire Centre rankings. Mackay said that there will be four helicopters working on the fire today, 1 heavy helicopter and three intermediate helicopters that serve as support. She also said that the heavy timber type the fire is burning is hampering ground crews, and the “hot, dry and windy” weather conditions are problematic.
Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood says that the evacuations of about 100 homes on Upper Carnarvon and Mayors Way that were put in place on Friday evening are still in place, and that no new ones have been ordered as of Sunday morning. The evacuation situation has been assessed this morning and will continue to be assessed throughout the day.
“The key message today is that it is going to be the hottest, driest day of this week,” said Bood, adding that although the fire did not increase in size overnight, it is still a serious situation. He also said that 12 people from evacuated residences stayed in local accommodation Saturday night.
The fire was reported early in the evening of July 3, and air tankers dropped retardant before dark fell. Sprinkler protection has been installed on the water treatment plant to protect it from fire. At this time the fire is suspected to be human-caused.