Community Notices

Highway 4 - Cameron Bluffs Wildfire Update
Friday June 9, 2023


The latest update on the Highway 4 - Cameron Bluffs Wildfire Update from Josie Osborne, MLA From: Josie Osborne MLA Office,
Cameron Bluffs Wildfire and BC Highway 4 Update #1

Last updated: June 8th 3:00pm

Thank you to all the wildfire fighters, emergency responders, and local leaders and volunteers who are working so hard during these difficult circumstances. There is incredible partnership between agencies, governments, First Nations, and organizations!

Wildfire Status:

  • Crews are making reasonable progress considering the burning conditions, leaning substantially on aviation resources.
  • Assigned resources are keeping the fire within the containment area.
  • Crews and engines are working early and late on the roadside, taking advantage of the long daylight hours.
  • Crews are working on the back side of the fire, within trigger points.
  • There are no evacuation alerts or orders in place at this time.
  • Highway 4 remains closed due to continued debris impact on the highway.
  • The Ministry of Forests and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure slope stability experts are engaged in assessment and decision-making for public safety on the highway.

Highway and Detour Status:

From MoTI June 8, 12:30 pm

Please check here for regular updates.

  • Highway 4 remains closed as a result of the Cameron Bluffs wildfire (V70600), however a detour is now in place.
  • The detour will be temporarily Closed between 1:00 PM and 9:00 PM Friday June 9, 2023, for more details please visit Drive BC.
  • The detour leads from Port Alberni to Youbou/Lake Cowichan on remote gravel logging roads for approximately 2.5-4.5 hours
  • The route is narrow in sections with sharp curves, single-lane bridges and challenging terrain
  • Regular passenger vehicles such as cars, vans and commercial vehicles weighing less than 63,500 kilograms can travel through the detour
  • No over-height or over-weight vehicles are permitted (no wide loads etc.)
  • There is no cell service, gas stations, or washroom facilities along the detour
  • Check points are set up on either end to inform drivers of the conditions expected on the route
  • Signage has been placed along the detour route to indicate the route
  • Drivers are being strongly encouraged to avoid non-essential travel in the area
  • Drive BC has posted an information bulletin regarding this detour

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. When will BC Highway 4 re-open?

  • Wildfire response and human safety are the first priorities. The Ministry of Forests and the BC Wildfire Service remain the lead agency, and the Ministry of Transportation is working closely with BCWS.
  • MoTI is already actively working to assess slope stability and debris/treefall as the fire is happening, so that the road can be re-opened as quickly as possible. Danger trees are already being felled.
  • Although it isn’t possible to be precise about re-opening, we anticipate it is a matter of days – not weeks.
  • Angel Rock remains intact. It has not fallen, nor is there any major damage to the highway from debris that has fallen. The Ministry is looking at getting drone shots of the area today for public viewing.

2. Why is the Horne Lake route not being used?

  • The Horne Lake Connector is on private land owned by Mosaic.
  • This road is not appropriate for general traffic. It is a narrow, winding road with grades steeper than the designated detour route.
  • Mosaic’s Horne Lake road gates are closed with security posted. Mosaic is fully collaborating and communicating with the Province, and this route remains accessible for emergency vehicles only.
  • MoTI has successfully opened a more appropriate detour route along Cowichan Lake to bring access to those needing to travel through Port Alberni and the West Coast.
  • While only essential travel is recommended at this time, this detour opens a critical link to continue the movement of goods and people needing access to the region.
  • The current detour route was identified as the safest and most appropriate link for people who require essential travel in this area.
  • The Ministry is not considering opening an additional detour at this time.
  • It is recognized that the Cowichan Lake route is not the most convenient alternate route for all travellers, but MoTI asks for patience and understanding.

3. Are supply chains at risk?

  • No, there is no anticipated challenge with supply chains at this time.
  • Food and fuel are being delivered.
  • The Cowichan Lake route is open to all legal highway trucks. Delivery trucks, for example with groceries and fuel, are actively using this route.
  • Supply chains are intact.
  • We are grateful to delivery truck drivers and companies for doing their very best in challenging circumstances. We’re also grateful for people’s patience and understanding.

4. What if people have medical issues? How are people reaching scheduled medical appointments?

  • Anyone who requires emergency medical attention will receive it through local paramedics and emergency departments. All local emergency departments remain open and emergency transfers, for example by helicopter, remain available.
  • BC Emergency Health Services is coordinating patient transfers.
  • People with medical appointments outside the region are advised to call (e.g., specialists’ offices, cancer centres) to discuss alternative arrangements.

5. Are there other ways to reach the Alberni Valley and West Coast?