Vancouver Island fire department posts video showing how fast human-caused wildfires can spread
A Vancouver Island fire department is reminding British Columbians of the fire risks that are present across the province as wildfires sweep across the Interior and droughts grip parts of Vancouver Island.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Dashwood Fire Department, based out of Qualicum Beach, posted a video online of a small fire spreading quickly through dry grass, saying "one dropped cigarette" is enough to cause a wildfire.
The video was part of a demonstration, which took place outside of the fire department in a controlled location, the department said.
Within seconds, the fire can be seen burning through the patch of grass, with no signs of slowing down.
"This is all it takes to start a wildfire," wrote the fire department in the social media post.
As of Wednesday morning, there were 248 wildfires burning across the province, with 3,375 properties under evacuation orders.
On Tuesday, the Coastal Fire Centre urged residents to obey fire rules after conservation officers noticed a spike in illegal campfires in its jurisdiction, which includes of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, Haida Gwaii and parts of the Lower Mainland.
"It's really something we need to nail down and need to make sure everyone's really diligent on as we get into these higher temperatures and even further drier conditions headed to the long weekend," said Matt Bell with the Coastal Fire Centre.
Bell added that a provincewide campfire ban has been in place since late June in B.C., and that conservation officers are immediately handing out $1,150 fines whenever they spot a campfire.
On Wednesday morning, Environment Canada posted heat warnings for parts of Vancouver Island, the southern Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.
Heat warnings are in effect on eastern Vancouver Island, and special weather statements related to heat have been issued for the rest of the island, including Greater Victoria.
The high temperatures are expected to begin Wednesday and last until Sunday, with temperatures reaching 30 C in eastern Vancouver Island, and the high 20s to low 30s in Greater Victoria.
Health officials on Vancouver Island have declared clusters of COVID-19 at four more schools in the South Island. There are now five active clusters at schools in the region.
Police have launched a hate-crime investigation after graffiti was discovered on a Catholic church in downtown Victoria.
A Victoria man has bequeathed more than half a million dollars to a local animal shelter in honour of his beloved cat, according to the Capital Regional District.