Logging company employee dies working Nanaimo wildfire

Timberwest employee found dead in truck not a firefighter

A logging company employee has died while working at a wildfire in the Nanaimo Lakes area on Vancouver Island.

The province’s workplace safety authority confirmed a TimberWest employee was found dead in a vehicle south of Nanaimo around 10 p.m. on Monday.

“The worker was not a firefighter. Early information indicates the worker was making a delivery to forest wildfire fighters,” WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Trish Knight Chernecki said.

She said a WorkSafe investigator was sent to the scene. Knight Chernecki said the death was not related to a crash but could not give any more details, including the person’s name, age and gender.

The BC Wildfire Service confirmed there was a “medical incident” at the fire overnight on Monday.

When contacted for comment, TimberWest said information would come from the wildfire service.

RELATED: Latest on Nanaimo wildfire

RELATED: Latest on Maple Mountain fire near Crofton

There are currently 462 fires burning in British Columbia, a much higher number than the 130 fires reported on the same date one year ago.

A cooling trend is forecast for the province, but firefighting officials say the change in the weather is likely to be accompanied by intense lightning capable of igniting more forest fires.

Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.’s chief fire information officer, said Wednesday the heat should let up across the province by Friday, but with that comes forecasts of thunderstorms, lightning strikes and only small amounts of rain.

He said the amount of rain in the most recent forecast is between three and five millimetres, which is not enough to ease the extreme fire conditions across B.C.

“The real day we are focusing on right now is Friday,” he said from Kamloops. “We do expect a pretty dramatic shift in the weather.”

Skrepnek said the forecast predicts the break down of the high pressure ridge that has brought record high temperatures to much of the province.

“Unfortunately, with the system coming through we are expecting a cold front that is going to bring about increased winds and that is more than likely going to bring some thunderstorm activity with it,” he said. “We are bracing for it to be a challenging day.”

He said so far this year, since April 1, there have been 1,502 fires, burning about 101,000 hectares and costing $131 million to fight. B.C. spent about $650 million fighting forest fires in 2017.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said he took an aerial tour Wednesday of the fire zone in central B.C. where he saw thick plumes of smoke, trees in flames and recent fire damage to area forests. He said he was accompanied by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

“This year the fire season seemed to start later, but it’s more widespread than last year with wildfires of note in all areas of the province,” said Donaldson, in a telephone conference call from a government forest office at Burns Lake.

He said last year’s record fire season that saw the city of Williams Lake evacuated was concentrated in the Cariboo and southern Interior regions while this year wildfires are hitting all areas of B.C., including Vancouver Island, the north and the Interior.

The major fires of concern include a wildfire in Telegraph Creek in the province’s northwest and a large blaze south of Keremeos, he said.

Donaldson said Telegraph Creek is located near the Alaska border and Keremeos is near the eastern Washington state border.

He said he’s tried to get into Telegraph Creek to survey damage from the ongoing fire that destroyed or damaged two dozen buildings, but has been turned back twice due to thick smoke.

A crew of firefighters from Yukon travelled to the community Wednesday to assist in the battle.

The crew is managed by the development arm of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council, a First Nation in the Whitehorse area, and spokesman Ben Asquith said the call for assistance came from former Yukon politician Darius Elias, whose parents live in Telegraph Creek.

Farnworth said there are currently 22 evacuation alerts in areas across B.C., which mean that residents must be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

There are also 17 areas that have been evacuated due to extreme fire danger, with the largest being in the Telegraph Creek area, where 250 people have been ordered to leave.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Larch Hills junior racers top Teck BC Midget Championships

Multiple top-five finishes contribute to aggregate team trophy

Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim clubs

Mayor assures options for city rec centre only preliminary

Children’s organizations offer mixed reviews on Budget 2019

Concern over long waitlists, early intervention funding, but relief child care funds are included

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

UPDATE: Tractor trailer overturned on Highway 3A near Yellow Lake

Drivers may be wise to plan an alternate route as crews will need to recover the truck

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Vehicle fire on Coquihalla near Kamloops

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky over Highway 5

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Top blues talent joins festival roster

Salmon Arm’s Roots and Blues adds stellar Canadian acts to 2019 event

Senior Golds climb rankings after Western Canada Tournament

First time since 2002 that Salmon Arm team has qualified for national rankings

Most Read