An out-of-control wildfire on Vancouver Island continues to keep the only main route to Port Alberni, Ucluelet, and Tofino closed.
The suspected human-caused Cameron Bluffs fire was first discovered on Saturday, June 3. From Wednesday to Thursday, BC Wildfire Service reported that the Cameron Bluffs fire grew in size from 80 to 140 hectares.
In a media availability Thursday morning, the Coastal Fire Centre confirmed that “there is no concern about the Cameron Bluffs fire coming close to communities at this time.” There is also no risk at this time to nearby Cathedral Grove, as the fires are four kilometres east of this area.
Fire cuts off highway to Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet. pic.twitter.com/Umf4Fo5OW8
— Marilyn E Burrows (@BurrowsMarilyn) June 7, 2023
The growing wildfire has led to the closure of Highway 4, also known as the Alberni Highway – a critical route for connecting more remote coastal communities to the rest of Vancouver Island.
⛔REMINDER – #BCHwy4 remains CLOSED in both directions due to the Cameron Bluffs Wildfire.
— DriveBC VI (@DriveBC_VI) June 8, 2023
On June 7, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provided an update to the traffic advisory, saying a detour was now in place. Daily Hive has reached out to the Ministry for more information and will update this story.
Airline operators are adding additional flights to Tofino to help support the now cut-off region.
We has added additional flights between Vancouver South Terminal (YVR) and Tofino, Long Beach Airport (YAZ) on Thursday, June 8 and Friday, June 9, 2023 to support the communities of Tofino, Ucluelet, and Port Alberni due to the #PortAlberniwildfire that #shutdown Highway #4.
— Pacific Coastal (@PacificCoastal) June 7, 2023
The road detour routes traffic from Port Alberni through to Lake Cowichan via Bamfield on “forest-service and privately owned industrial roads.” However, the drivers taking the detour will not face ideal road conditions.
“The gravel detour route has narrow sections, sharp curves, single-lane bridges and challenging terrain,” said the Ministry.
“There is no cell service, gas stations or washroom facilities on the detour route.” Because the detour route adds an extra four hours to the drive and includes difficult driving conditions, the Ministry is encouraging people to wait to travel if possible.
“For drivers who must travel for essential purposes, the Province urges preparation and patience. Drivers should fuel up, bring extra supplies, food and water to be prepared for the high temperatures at this time of year, and note that conditions can change quickly,” said the Ministry.