Nanaimo: TimberWest is reminding the public it has closed gate access across its operating land base. The extreme fire risk on Vancouver Island has already resulted in wildfires in Port Alberni, Duncan, Bowser, Sooke and most notably the 180-hectare wildfire in Nanaimo affecting private residences, TimberWest land and campsites.
Causes of the wildfires are under investigation with the BC Wildfire Service, however a majority of the fires are suspected to be person caused.
The Nanaimo Lakes wildfire broke out on Sunday, August 5th. The BC Wildfire Service Coastal Fire Centre responded quickly to the scene and TimberWest is actively lending support. On Monday evening a tragic medical incident occurred at Nanaimo Lakes. Sadly, an employee of a contractor passed away while working under the supervision of the BC Wildfire Service Coastal Fire Centre.
“Our thoughts are with family, friends and colleagues affected by this incident,” says Domenico Iannidinardo, Vice President, Sustainability & Chief Forester. “We urgently ask the public to obey fire bans and forest closures. Wildfires put all of us at risk. We are working closely with the BC Wildfire Service to ensure the public remains safe, and we are grateful for their service, and for every member of the team helping to contain this fire.”
The Regional District of Nanaimo has issued evacuation protocols for several residents living around Nanaimo Lakes. TimberWest has closed all Nanaimo Lakes campsites until the fire threat has abated.
“We ask that all local communities remain vigilant, and share in the responsibility of keeping the surrounding forests free of fire,” continued Mr. Iannidinardo. “If anyone spots smoke or signs of a wildfire please call the BC Wildfire Service immediately. Containing a wildfire during such extreme fire conditions is a challenging undertaking, and the sooner the firefighters can get to it, the more likely it can be contained.”
TimberWest issued fire bans across its campsites in late June and closed access to its North and South Island private lands in July. Please report acts of misuse or illegal activity to the RCMP Conservation Officers by calling the report a poacher or polluter hotline 1-877-952-7277, and if there is a fire call the BC Wildfire Service 1-800-663-5555, or *5555 on cell phones.
Campsites Open: Gooseneck, Willington Point, Wokas Lake; and Echo Lake and Beavertail day-use recreation sites.
Road Closures: Comox Lake Main (CL 6 to CL31); Boston Main; Browns Main; Cougar Main; Constitution Main; Murex Main; Duncan Bay Main (DBM 31 to DBM 51); Cranberry Main; McBain Main; Airport West Main; JD Main; Elk Main (Quinsam River to Echo Lake);Tom Brown North/Dump Main; Elk 3000; Bacon Lake Main; Berry Creek Main; Quinsam Main; Elk Mtn.; and Buttle Bluffs.
Access for Members of Clubs with Access Agreements: Comox District Mountaineering Club members will have access during sanctioned weekend events organized by the club. Mountain biking will be permitted on trails managed by the United Riders of Cumberland.
Comox Lake Cabin Owners: Road access will be available for cabin owners during this closure period.
Campsites Closed: Nanaimo Lakes – including, Old Mill, Windy Point, Riverside, Deadwood. For more information visit NLcampsite.com
Campsites Open: Lake Cowichan – including, Heather, Little Shaw, Kissinger Lake, Caycuse. For more information visit LakeCowichanCamping.com
Road Closures: All gates are closed to the public from Sooke to Qualicum and Port Alberni.
Road Delays: Road improvements are underway on the North Shore road from Cottonwood Creek to Wardroper Creek. We ask that the public use the South Shore road.
For weekly updated information, please visit our Facebook Access Note: https://www.facebook.com/notes/timberwest-forest-corp/accessing-our-lands/1267700043242254/
Media Contact: Monica Bailey | Director, Communications | T 250 716 3744 | Monica.Bailey@TimberWest.com