The Mount Hayes wildfire near Ladysmith has now grown to 20 hectares and a State of Local Emergency has been declared by the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The declaration applies to CVRD Electoral Area ‘H’ and a small northern portion of Area ‘G’.

The regional district has also issued an Evacuation Order for a single industrial property at 3591 Ninattii Road, owned by FortisBC/

The fire is about 4.5 kilometres from Ladysmith and 2-3 kilometres from the FortisBC facility.

The BC Wildfire service dispatched a crew of 10 firefighters on Thursday, supported by two pieces of heavy equipment, two water tanker trucks, and 4 helicopters with air tanker support from the Lower Mainland.

The fire will be monitored overnight and a restriction order limits access to forestry roads in the area.

The CVRD says its Regional Emergency Operations Centre remains in contact with municipal fire response teams, the Town of Ladysmith and the Stz’uminus First Nation.

The cause of the fire is unknown.