A truck is burning on the side of the highway near Cathedral Grove. PHOTO COURTESY BARB BROWN

A truck is burning on the side of the highway near Cathedral Grove. PHOTO COURTESY BARB BROWN

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

A vehicle fire near Cathedral Grove east of Port Alberni on Tuesday afternoon was quickly doused by fire crews before the flames could spread to the old-growth provincial park.

Crews from the Port Alberni Fire Department and B.C. Wildfire Services were still on the scene as of 3 p.m., mopping up hot spots, although the vehicle fire has been extinguished.

“They’ll be doing a bit of mop-up because [the fire] had started to get into the trees,” said PAFD acting chief Wes Patterson.

A pair of helicopters were also on scene, dropping buckets of water to douse the flames.

The incident was reported at around 2 p.m., as a pickup truck had gone off the road and into a ditch, striking a tree a few kilometres west of the Cathedral Grove parking lot. Patterson said there are no known injuries.

Fire risk in the area is extreme at the moment, and crews have been working on a 26-hectare fire near the Alberni Inlet for the past few days.

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Highway 4 was closed in both directions for more than an hour. Traffic resumed in a single-lane alternating fashion around 3:45 p.m. and the highway was completely open within 15 minutes.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com