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Thetis Lake wildfire prompts long weekend fire safety warning

The half-acre fire was reported at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and brought under control by 7 p.m.
View Royal Fire Rescue responded to a wildfire at Thetis Lake Regional Park Tuesday, June 27, along with the other West Shore fire departments and a helicopter from B.C. Wildfire. The half-acre fire was brought under control after several hours. (Courtesy of View Royal Fire Rescue)

A wildfire at Thetis Lake Regional Park is prompting reminders about fire safety as the Greater Victoria region heads into the Canada Day long weekend.

View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst said crews responded to a report of a fire in the park around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday (June 27) that was called in by a Harbour Air pilot who was flying over the area.

Crews from View Royal, Colwood and Langford responded to the scene, using a boat and hiking 30 minutes up Seymour Hill to locate the fire. Once found, Hurst said the challenge then became getting water to the remote location.

Crews ran a 1,000-foot water line from the lake to the top of the hill and called in a helicopter from B.C. Wildfire for support, eventually bringing the half-acre fire under control by 7 p.m.

Hurst said they were fortunate to have cool, humid weather with no strong winds as it helped slow the fire from spreading. He said it is believed to have been caused by a campfire left unattended the night before.

”If we didn’t have that big fog bank that rolled in that morning, it would have broken out a lot earlier, but it held it until the afternoon. Once the fog lifted, it gave the fire an opportunity to get going,” said Hurst. “We got fortunate with the weather. If it was August, it would probably be a different story.”

Fire crews returned to the scene Wednesday morning to confirm it had not reignited. CRD parks staff will now patrol the area for several days to confirm it remains out.

Hurst said residents should remember campfires are not permitted in Thetis Lake Park. Anyone who plans on having an outdoor fire should remain vigilant while it is burning, and understand the region is at a high fire threat level.

“There have been 47 fires B.C. Wildfire has responded to on Vancouver Island this year, and all 47 have been human-caused. Now it’s 48. These are preventable fires … a small fire can take off pretty quick and cause a lot of devastation.”

READ MORE: Pair of suspicious wildfires burning in Port Alberni

Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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