Small Wildfire near Sproat Lake – Wildfires spark all over Island and Province – Sparks new Petition for Mars

You can sign the new #bringbackthemars petition here.  (I am not leading this petition)

Update 4:35PM

Approaching the cabins…
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Update 4:25PM

This will be my last update for a few hours as I am headed to the Heritage Golf Classic to volunteer for a few hours this evening.  I will update again around 8PM.  Stay safe folks.  Hoping for the best.

One more video just sent to me.

Update 4:10PM

From the AVNews as of 3PM.

The B.C. Coastal Fire centre is reporting a 1.5 hectare fire near the top of Dog Mountain near Sproat Lake. According to CFC rep Ellie DuPont, an initial helicopter crew is on scene and an air tanker is on its way. DuPont said the fire is currently not endangering and cabins or homes.

Update 4:00PM

The view right now from the City of Port Alberni.

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 Update: 3:55PM

Just noticed by a reader.  Current Humidity at the Port Alberni Airport (which is just a few km away from the fire) is 12%!  22% in the City at my station.  Very very dry conditions and the afternoon breeze has come, thankfully not too strong.
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Update: 3:45PM

From about twenty minutes ago.

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Update 3:30PM

Just received from the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District:
‎There is a forest fire burning on Dog Mountain…. activated an Emergency Operations Centre level 1 and will be in contact with Forest Service, no need at this time for further resources… will advise as things progress”

Update 3:25PM

From a reader

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Update 3:20PM

A resident took these photos about 20minutes ago and reports the smoke is about twice as large.  But these of course are not confirmed by official sources.

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Update 3:05PM

Update 2:55PM

There is now one in Qualicum apparently.  This is a very disturbing situation.

 

Update 2:30PM

Witnesses report there are water bombers and helicopters on scene at #sproatlikefire

Facebook Video here.

There are more serious fires elsewhere on the Island.  Such as Port Hardy.  Good thoughts and strength to them.

 

Update 2:25PM

Anecdotal reports that there are ground and helicopter crews on the fire now.

Update 2:15PM

This is the photo that should get your blood boiling….. help, sitting helpless on the beach.

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I will update this post through the day though I won’t be here the whole afternoon and evening.

It is not getting any better out there.

There fires all over the Island.  And now including near Sproat Lake off Two-Rivers Arm (the uninhabited part though there are some campsites).  It is small but visible from the City of Port Alberni.

The Hawaii Mars is sitting on land within sight of this fire.  Frustrating.  You can sign this if you like.  I am not doing a petition this year to bring back the Mars, but others are.  It already has almost 200 signatures.

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Ministry Declares Level 4 Drought on VI – East and South VI River fishing Banned – Water Conservation Urged

Update 12:45PM:

Due to the high or extreme fire dangers across the province, the BC Wildfire Management Branch has now imposed a campfire, open burning, and firework ban for the entire province.  The only exception is the ‘fog zone’ on the West coast of VI and all of Haida Gwaii.

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The following is the press release from the Ministry of Forests.  Currently the City of Port Alberni has not changed its Level 1 water restriction policy but continues to monitor it very closely.

I will update if there are any other implications to this.  Level 4 basically means the Province will have the power to compel water users to act above and beyond normal actions.

Here is a map of the banned fishing areas.  The Alberni Valley is excluded at this time.

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https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/fishing-closures-part-of-comprehensive-drought-response

Responding to dry conditions, the Government of B.C. has announced a Level 4 drought rating for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and taken the additional action of suspending angling in streams and rivers throughout southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands due to ongoing low stream flows and warming water temperatures.

At Level 4, conditions are extremely dry. Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife, and fish stocks. All water users are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.

Effective July 4, 2015, virtually all angling in streams and rivers in Wildlife Management Units 1-1 through 1-6 is suspended. The closure has been put in place to protect fish stocks at a time when they are vulnerable due to low flows and high water temperatures. The geographic area covers Bamfield south to Victoria on the west coast, and Campbell River south to Victoria on the east coast. Key rivers affected by the order include the Caycuse, Chemainus, Cowichan, Englishman, Gordon, Little Qualicum, Nanaimo, Nitinat, Oyster, Puntledge, San Juan, Sooke, Trent and Tsable.

The Qualicum (known as “Big Qualicum”) and Quinsam rivers are the only rivers or streams in the affected area exempt from the closure. On these two streams fishing can continue as normal. These streams have sufficient water refuges to adequately protect fish, even with normal angling pressure.

The angling closure order is for southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands only at this time, but B.C. government fisheries biologists are monitoring approximately 75 other key angling streams across the province, and if conditions warrant, additional closures are possible. Lake fishing is not affected by the order. Angling closures are enabled through the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations of the federal Fisheries Act.

Separately, the establishment of a Level 4 drought advisory, signals that regional water managers may take additional regulatory actions if they are deemed necessary. Any such actions will be site specific depending on individual stream conditions. Specific actions could include the temporary suspension of short-term water approvals or water licences in affected watersheds if necessary. Ministry water management staff will continue to monitor conditions, work closely with First Nations, local governments and key stakeholders, and provide updates as the need arises.

Although residential, agricultural and industrial users within municipalities and regional districts backed by reservoir storage are less vulnerable to water supply shortages than water users served by smaller water systems from streams, lakes and wells, all water users are encouraged to observe local water conservation bylaws to prolong water supplies and to maintain flows for fish and ecosystems.

Water users are also reminded to ensure that water intakes are screened to prevent fish from being pulled into water systems as water levels drop. Low water levels can impede the passage of salmon to spawning grounds, increase susceptibility to disease, or cause stranding or death due to low oxygen and high water temperatures.

Water conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Many communities in B.C. are prepared to deal with water supply shortages and low streamflow conditions through drought management plans and water conservation programs that are already in place. In June 2015 the Province updated its 2010 Drought Response Plan.

Quote:

Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations – 

“As we experience warmer and drier weather, it is important that we are able to react quickly to protect vulnerable fish stocks. That is what we’ve done today, and what we will continue to do in future, as conditions warrant.”

Learn More:

To see a map of the areas covered by the stream and river angling closures visit: https://www.flickr.com/gp/bcgovphotos/22aHWX

B.C. Drought Information: http://www.livingwatersmart.ca/drought/

B.C. Drought Level Map: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/lowflow/droughtmap.htm

B.C. Drought Response Plan (June 2015): http://www.livingwatersmart.ca/drought/response.html

What Can You Do?: http://www.livingwatersmart.ca/drought/action.html

Agriculture Drought Strategies: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/emergency/Drought/Drought.htm

Irrigation scheduling techniques and water conservation: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/business/natural-resource-industries/agriculture/agriculture-documents/resource-management/factsheets-and-publications/500-series/577100-1_irrigation_scheduling_techniques.pdf

For assistance in developing an irrigation schedule: http://ag-calc.irrigationbc.com/

Stream flow and precipitation conditions in B.C. are monitored by the River Forecast Centre –

Groundwater levels in provincial observation wells:
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wsd/data_searches/obswell/map/obsWells.html

Environment Canada Water Conservation: http://www.ec.gc.ca/water/en/manage/effic/e_weff.htm

A backgrounder follows.