An area resident snapped this image of a wildfire burning just outside of Zeballos, a tiny logging village on the west coast of the Island.

Firefighters “beat down” flames outside of Vancouver Island village

Tiny coastal town of Zeballos on edge following evacuation alert

The efforts of firefighters are paying off in Zeballos, according to a resident who lives near the site of the fire.

Ernie Smith, who posted footage of smoke billowing from the hillside near his home on Thursday, said that firefighters made progress yesterday on the lightning-caused wildfire. But it’s still burning in the nearby hills.

“The ones behind the houses, they got it beat down quite a bit,” said Smith.

Footage posted by Smith on Friday morning showing less wildfire activity, though smoke continued to rise near houses.

Firefighters had travelled from Port McNeill to fight the wildfire, he said. The BC Wildfire Service and a forestry company were also fighting the flare-up, said Smith, who took part in the effort with the local volunteer firefighting corps.

This comes after residents expressed concern that the BC Wildfire Service wasn’t doing enough to protect the tiny logging village. Zeballos issued an evacuation alert on Thursday and declared a local state of emergency.

READ MORE: East Zeballos placed under evacuation alert as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

On its Facebook page, the BC Wildfire Service issued a notice on Thursday saying the fire near Zeballos was “proving challenging.”

“The fire is burning in very steep ground with extremely difficult and unsafe access for firefighting and our priority continues to focus on the safety of first responders and the public,” the statement said.

It continued: “Due to winds and high temperatures, the fire is slowly backing down the steep slope.”

The statement noted that the fire was “highly visible” to local residents, adding that their concerns were understandable.

However, it said the fire was “not an immediate threat” and noted that firefighters were “working hard to keep the community safe.”

The flare-up had grown to an estimated 29 hectares by Thursday evening, according to the BC Wildfire Service’s website.

The evacuation alert issued on Thursday applies to the area east of the Zeballos River, a village with a population of 107. On the western side of the river is the Ehattesaht First Nation reserve, which has a population of about 100-150.

READ MORE: B.C. declares state of emergency as wildfires rage

Ehattesaht is further from the wildfire than Zeballos, and no evacuation alert was in effect for the reserve as of Friday morning, said Ashley John, a councillor for Ehattesaht First Nation.

But she said it remains a concern, adding that the band is working closely with the Zeballos emergency program.

Meanwhile, a wildfire at Pinder Creek threatened the only road into the remote Zeballos area.

Located about 15 km from the Island Highway, that fire had grown to an estimated 105 hectares by Thursday evening, according to the website of the BC Wildfire Service. The Pinder Creek fire was listed as 10 per cent contained.

More to come.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tax requisition same, tip fees up for solid waste in Comox, Strathcona regions

CSWM board will have to finalize its latest financial plan by the end of March

Valley man warning others through video following cyber attack

Julian White had his online portfolio hacked less than two weeks ago.

Life on street inspires Comox man to help others without homes

For Sam Franey, it all starts with making connections between people

Cumberland council awards two tenders for fire hall

Contracts cover civil works and mechanical infrastructure in building

L’Arche Comox Valley community reeling over findings of inquiry into founder

The local L’Arche community is reeling in the wake of a report… Continue reading

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Pink Shirt Day campaign urges Canadians to ‘Lift Each Other Up’

Annual anti-bullying effort returns Wednesday, Feb. 26

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read