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AUGUST 28 UPDATE
Today, the BC Wildfire Service in consultation with North Cowichan's fire departments, has deemed the Maple Mountain wildfire to be "out." The status of all coastal wildfires since April 1, 2018 is listed on the BC Wildfire Service's website, including the Maple Mountain Fire (look for fire name "W side Maple Mountain").
AUGUST 17 UPDATE
The official status of the Maple Mountain fire is now "under control." You can find this displayed here on the BC Wildfire Service website (search for fire name "W side Maple Mountain").
The fire is no longer active, but hot spots linger underground. We have a team regularly monitoring the area.
All trails on Maple Mountain remain closed to public access. This is to allow a trails assessment to be undertaken and to allow the monitoring and clean-up to continue.
Trails on Richards Mountain are re-opened to the public effective August 17, 2018.
Update 4:00 PM
Fire crews have been working the wildfire on Maple Mountain for over 72 hours and are happy to announce that the evacuation alert for areas of Osborne Bay Road is now lifted. This means that affected residents do not need to remain on standby to leave their homes.
Crews will continue to work on hot spots and monitor the area, and will continue doing so for the next week.
Trails on Maple Mountain remain closed.
If you know anyone from the Cowichan-area fire departments or the BC Wildfire Service, please share the community's thanks!
Specific appreciation to members of North Cowichan's four fire halls, Crofton, Maple Bay, Chemainus, and South End, and to the neighbouring departments of Duncan, Sahtlam, Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith, and Lantzville. You are amazing!
Update 12:00 PM
Fire crews are pleased to report that this fire is well contained and there was 0% growth again overnight. Crews continue to focus on dousing hot spots that smoulder underground.
The precautionary Evacuation Alert for the homes east of Osborne Bay Road from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West remains in effect.
All trails on Maple Mountain remain closed until further notice.
Next update: 5:00pm.
Update 4:00 PM
Fire crews continue to work tirelessly to extinguish the Maple Mountain Wildfire. A combination of heat and wind this afternoon created some challenges but the crews are keeping the wildfire contained.
The Evacuation Alert continues for the homes east of Osborne Bay Road from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West as a precaution.
Reminder that all trails are closed until further notice, so please do not attempt to access trails on Maple Mountain or Richards Mountain – fire crews need the area clear for safety.
Saturday is expected to cool down a bit but may bring some lightning storms so please continue to be alert and on the lookout for any new fires. If you see smoke or flames, please call 911 to report the concern and provide detailed location information to assist firefighters in locating the potential fire.
Thank you for your patience and a huge thank you to all the fire departments providing personnel and equipment to extinguish this wildfire!
Next update at 12:00 p.m. Saturday
Update 9:00 AM
We are happy to report that there has been no further growth of the Maple Mountain Wildfire overnight!
While progress is being made, the precautionary evacuation alert along portions of Osborne Bay Road has not yet been lifted.
Today, Fire Crews (40 personnel) from five (5) fire departments are using high volumes of water to douse the fire. Fire Crews will continue to work for several more days to fully extinguish hot spots that erupt from undergrowth and root systems.
Helicopter assistance is not required today.
Another hot day is anticipated so please stay cool and remember those who are working tirelessly in this heat to protect you!
Next update at 4:00 p.m.
Update 8:00 PM
The fire crews continue to work on extinguishing the Maple Mountain Wildfire. The ongoing hot weather continues to fuel the fire and is tiring the crews!
The heat warning continues for Friday so we need to stay on top of this Wildfire and not let down our guard.
The Evacuation Alert will remain in effect as a precaution for the homes east of Osborne Bay Road from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West.
Thank you to all those hard working fire crews! Let's hope for a less strenuous night and the relief of some cooler weather.
Next update at 9:00 a.m. Friday.
Update 4:00 PM
The Maple Mountain Wildfire has been successfully contained at an estimated 5.5 ha.
Fire crews and BC Wildfire Service report making good progress today and the wildfire appears to be settling down.
The Evacuation Alert remains in place for Osborne Bay Road from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West as a precaution.
Next update: 8:00 p.m.
Update 12:00 PM
There has not been any significant change since the 8:00 a.m. update. Seven (7) Fire Departments and the BC Wildfire Service continue to effectively battle the Maple Mountain Wildfire as it continues to smoulder and erupt sporadically.
Please stay out of the area so that they can work without disruption or concerns for your safety.
The Evacuation Alert remains in effect for the area east of Osborne Bay Road from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West as a precaution.
Continue to expect smoke in the area. The public is asked to be alert and on the lookout for any new fires. If you see smoke or flames, please call 911 to report the concern and provide as detailed location information as possible to assist firefighters in locating the potential fire.
Thank you for your patience and a huge thank you to all the fire departments providing personnel and equipment to extinguish this wildfire in this searing heat!
Next update at 4 pm.
Update 8:00 AM
Thank you to the crews that spent the night keeping watch over the fire. At 3:15 a.m., crews successfully doused a 50 x 50 ft area that was burning again.
This morning, crews from multiple fire departments are gathering to plan for the coming day. The continued hot, dry weather tends to encourage fire growth. The fire is contained but still burning and may continue to erupt for several more days.
Please stay out of the area so that fire crews and BC Wildfire Service can effectively fight this fire and keep it contained and away from all structures nearby!
The evacuation alert for Osborne Bay Road East from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West continues as those residences are closest to the wildfire. Please stay on the ready as heat and wind can make wildfires unpredictable.
Next update at 12 p.m.
Update 7:30 PM
Osborne Bay Road is now reopened and those that were previously asked to leave their homes for fire fighting purposes can now return.
If the RCMP attended your residence this evening and asked you to be on alert, please remain ready to leave the area in case the wildfire flares up again. The alert area is Osborne Bay Road (east side) from Herd Road to Tatlo Road West. If you were put on alert, please consider packing the following:
Should it be determined that an Evacuation Order is required, residents will be directed to the Island Savings Centre as it is the nearest Emergency Reception Centre.
The next update will be posted at 8:00 AM unless the fire grows again.
Update 5:28 PM
A small number of residents have been asked to temporarily leave or be prepared to leave their homes to allow for more effective fire fighting (affected residents contacted door-to-door). No large scale evacuation is required at this time. An eAlert notice has not been issued.
Update 5:00 PM
A fire is occurring on Maple Mountain. Multiple fire departments and the BC Wildfire Service are responding.
The fire is located approximately 1km east of the parking lot for the Municipal Forest Reserve on Osborne Bay Road. Osborne Bay Road has been closed at Herd Road and at Chilco Road. Flaggers are in place.
The public is asked to avoid the mountain. "Closed" signs are being installed at all trailheads on Maple Mountain, as well as some trailheads on Richards Mountain.
In the event that a large-scale evacuation is required, alerts will be sent out via the Municipality's eAlert system, as well as through media and other means. You can sign up for the Municipality's eAlert system at: www.northcowichan.ca/eAlert.
Updates will be posted here and on the Municipality's social media feeds.