Massive fire on Vancouver Island cuts off access to Tofino (VIDEO)

Jun 7 2023, 4:45 pm

Update: As of noon on Wednesday, June 7, a detour along gravel forestry and private roads is in place. The drive adds four hours to travel time and includes dangerous driving conditions.

A wildfire burning on Vancouver Island has blocked access to major tourism areas, including Tofino, this week.

The Cameron Bluffs Fire was first discovered on Saturday, June 3. Its size is estimated to be around 80 hectares and it’s burning just west of Highway 4, also known as the Alberni Highway, by Cameron Lake.


BC Wildfire Service

The BC Wildfire Service suspects the fire is human-caused and it’s currently classified as “out of control” as it continues to spread and isn’t responding to suppression efforts.

According to DriveBC, a wildfire between Cathedral Grive/MacMillan Provincial Park and Koen Road has shut down Highway 4.

The closed highway is a key route connecting the communities of Port Alberni, Uclulet, and Tofino to the rest of the island.

In the early afternoon on Wednesday, June 7, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure provided an update to the traffic advisory, saying a detour was now in place.

The 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.

There will be information checkpoints for travellers set up at Youbou Road near Lake Cowichan and at Highway 4 at Aspeden Road near Port Alberni to provide more details.

Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson

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