Detour may open before 9:00 PM - update June 9, 2023

Central Vancouver Island

Both Highway 4 and the detour through Cowichan Lake will be closed today. According to the Ministry of Transportation, the highway remains closed due to the Cameron Bluffs wildfire which has been burning since June 3 and has grown to 208 hectares according to BC Wildfire Services.

The detour will be closed to all vehicles from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday so that crews can work to extract a commercial truck that rolled into Francis Lake near Nitinaht. According to the Ministry, the detour will open sooner if the vehicle extraction is completed quickly.

All travellers are urged to avoid travel along the detour route before, during and after the closure because commercial trucks will be queueing for passage.

The wildfire at Cameron Bluffs remains out of control but fire fighting efforts are beginning to pay off according to BC Wildfire Services. “Crews are making reasonable progress considering the burning conditions, leaning substantially on aviation resources,” they reported in a June 9, 2023, statement.

They went on to report that 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,” they added.

There are no evacuation alerts or orders in place at this time. Highway 4 remains closed due to continued debris impact on the highway. Ministry of Forests and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure slope stability experts are engaged in assessment and decision-making for public safety on the highway.

Drivers using the detour are reminded it is along forest-service and privately owned industrial roads, and includes single-lane bridges and challenging terrain, and adds an additional four hours of travel to the route. The province has asked drivers to avoid travel and only take the detour for essential purposes.

Once the detour re-opens, the province expects long lines of commercial vehicles and travelers waiting to get through. Drivers are reminded to prepare by ensuring they are fueled up and bring extra supplies food and water.

Motorists should expect long delays once the detour re-opens. The province urges them to drive with patience and caution and should travel the route during daylight hours.

Checkpoints have been set up along the detour route to provide information for travelers. For a map of checkpoints, visit:

Drivers are reminded to respect the direction of traffic-control personnel in the area.

For the up-to-date information about driving conditions, visit:

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