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New fires menace North Island power lines

New fires near Muchalat Lake could black out northern Vancouver Island, B.C. Hydro warned this afternoon.

In an email to North Island residents, Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson wrote:

BC Hydro and BC Transmission Corporation are now responding, in coordination with MOF, to three small fires along the circuit that serves most of North Vancouver Island.

These fires are in the Muchalat Lake area. This transmission circuit serves Woss northward, so areas like Port Hardy, Port Alice, Port McNeil, and Alert Bay [could be affected]. Gold River, Tahsis and Zeballos are not on this circuit and would not be impacted.

For all communities from Woss onward, this new development significantly changes things and the risk of potential power interruption. BC Hydro and BC Transmission Corporation ask that you please be prepared for potential power outages.

The Wildfire Management Branch said at 4:11 pm that the Muchalat Lake fires cover an estimated 6.0 hectares and are not contained. Three airtankers have attacked the fires.

As of 5:00 pm Thursday, the Branch had not updated the Antler Lake fire since shortly before noon.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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