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Antler Lake fire growing, threatening power lines

A growing fire near Gold River could destroy power lines serving northern Vancouver Island, and late today it more than doubled in size.

In an update late this morning, Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson reported that "The Antler Lake fire has grown to about 60-70 hectares. The good news is that fire continues to reside in the upper mountain area and remains about 700 metres from the transmission lines below."

But this afternoon the Wildfire Management Branch reported that the Antler Lake fire had expanded to 169 hectares, and had moved to within 500 metres of the transmission lines.

The Branch also said the fire was within a kilometre of Highway 28, but the highway and the road to Woss were still open. The Branch added:

Firefighters will continue to focus their attention on the protection of the hydro lines, using fire retardant, guards and sprinkler systems where possible. The fire is within 700 metres of the hydro line. .

The fire is within a kilometre of Highway 28. Highway 28 and the road to Woss are open

If the transmission lines are destroyed in the fire, most of the communities on northern Vancouver Island, such as Port McNeill and Port Hardy, would be blacked out. The same would be true of nearby island towns like Sointula and Alert Bay.

A report in the North Island Gazette has more details on Antler Lake and other fires in the region.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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