First Nations’ emergency capacity stressed as wildfire season rages on

 By Alexandra Mehl  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter This year, before students even closed their books for the summer, forest fires sparked throughout the region. The Cameron Bluff fire, which is believed to have been human-caused, grew to 229 hectares, closing Highway 4 for most of June – the only highway in and out for many West Coast communities. One month later, the 16.6-hectare Klanawa River fire was discovered in what Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor John Jack referred to as the shared territory between his First Nation and Ditidaht. Though both fires are currently under control, Vancouver Island has reached drought Level 4 and an “extreme” fire rating, leading the province to prepare for an increase in lightning-caused fires. According to the BC Wildfire Service, these conditions cause fires to start more…

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