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Antler Lake fire could black out northern Vancouver Island

A 50-hectare fire could black out all of Vancouver Island north of Gold River, according to a BC Hydro alert.

BC Hydro spokesperson Steve Watson emailed North Island residents at mid-afternoon today:

BC Hydro asks that residents and communities be prepared for a power outage in the event the situation does change. BC Hydro will continue to notify and work with the communities.

The Antler Lake Fire is now approximately 50 hectares in size and is in steep terrain that is inaccessible. There are three helicopters, heavy equipment and about 25 firefighters. The fire remains about 700 m away from the transmission lines - protecting these lines is the primary focus

In addition to the fire breaks/guards and sprinklers near the transmission lines, there are other protection methods in place that include covering the transmission structures with fire retardant should the fire get with 200 m of the lines. No power outage would be required to apply the retardant.

Watson said BC Hydro would issue an update "around mid-morning" on Wednesday, but sooner if conditions change.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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