UPDATE: Twenty properties have been put on evacuation alert and one evacuation has been ordered as the Mt. Hayes wildfire near Ladysmith continues to burn out of control.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Regional District of Nanaimo issued a joint evacuation alert Friday afternoon, Aug. 20, “because of the potential danger to life and health.”
The alert applies to properties on Ivey Road, Takala Road and David Road. For affected addresses, click here.
The alert is intended to prepare residents to evacuate should it become necessary. The regional districts noted that residents will be given “as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however, you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.”
The evacuation alert recommends family members designate a meeting area, pack essential items such as identification, medication, corrective lenses and keepsakes. People should prepare to move disabled persons and children and neighbours who may need assistance, and should prepare to take pets and move lifestock to a safe area. It’s recommended that people arrange transportation for all household members and ensure vehicles have fuel. Accommodation arrangements are also recommended.
Residents should wait for an evacuation order before evacuating. The CVRD says officials will go door-to-door to inform residents if there is an order.
One evacuation order has been issued, for the Bush Creek Fish Hatchery.
The CVRD has activated its regional emergency operations centre.
PREVIOUSLY POSTED: After yesterday’s efforts that included helicopters, air tankers, heavy equipment and other firefighters, ground crews remained at Mt. Hayes near Ladysmith overnight continuing to battle the blaze.
“The steep terrain is making it challenging for emergency crews to access the area and move equipment,” noted the Cowichan Valley Regional District in a press release Friday at noon.
The fire, about two and a half kilometres west of the Trans-Canada Highway, started in the early afternoon Thursday, Aug. 19.
Late that night, the CVRD declared a state of local emergency in response to the wildfire, applying to Electoral Area H and a small portion of Area G. An evacuation order was issued for a Fortis B.C.-owned property on Ninatti Road.
The CVRD reported last night that the fire was 20 hectares last night and B.C. Wildfire Service is now reporting it has grown to 70 hectares. The regional district said it has limited public access to forestry roads in the area.
B.C. Wildfire Service is fighting the fire with four initial attack crews, five helicopters, seven pieces of heavy equipment and 14 contracted crews as well as air tankers.
“The CVRD Regional Emergency Operations Centre remains in contact with municipal fire response teams, the Town of Ladysmith and the Stz’uminus First Nation for situational awareness,” the regional district noted in a press release.