Crews monitor flare-ups from golf course fire

Hot spots continued to make work for firefighters days after the initial blaze was extinguished at Duncan Meadows Golf Course.

Hot spots continued to make work for firefighters days after the initial blaze was extinguished at Duncan Meadows Golf Course, but business at the course has continued.

South End Fire Hall’s deputy chief Brad Coleman said crews from his hall and from Khowutzun Forest Services have continued to monitor the site since Monday.

“Any time you have that magnitude of a fire, there’s going to be roots in the ground and various things that still hold some heat,” Coleman said. “Over time they just tend to get going.”

A downed power line charged a fence which resulted in flames running along about 1.2 kilometres of Highway 18. Winds allowed the fire to jump across the street and into a farmer’s field.

Members from the South End hall were joined by North Cowichan’s Maple Bay and Crofton fire halls, and crews and equipment from the Duncan, Sahtlam, Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith and North Oyster fire departments. The BC Wildfire Service sent a ground crew and a helicopter to put out the Monday afternoon fire.

“The overwhelming response from our neighbours who helped our firefighters by supplying additional crews and equipment is a great demonstration of the quality of our firefighting services in the Cowichan Valley,” North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said. They were called out at 2:45 p.m. and had things under control by 6 p.m.

Monitoring and mop-up work has continued ever since.

Khowutzun Forest Services has kept an active watch on the site while the South End firefighters have gone over regularly to check it out as well.

“It really takes a few days sometimes to see little things that flare up,” Coleman said. “Especially, you can imagine, old stumps that go into the ground because the fire tends to chase the roots so you find little places that are just burning under the ground sometimes.”

The dry ground exacerbates things as well.

“It’s a matter of fine-tuning it and going over it with a crew and really watching for dry and hot spots,” Coleman added.

The golf course did sustain some damage in the fire, but not enough to shut it down.

“It’s business as usual,” Duncan Meadows superintendent Dave Brummitt said. “There’s obviously damage; you can’t have a fire with 50km/h winds and not have damage, but the damage to the course itself is minimal.”

Brummitt said power was restored to the course on Tuesday afternoon. The course is well-prepared for incidents like fires, he added.

“We have fire-suppression equipment,” he said. “We have a backup generator. Those sorts of things. [Owner Ming Hui] and I have been doing this for a long time, but you can’t expect the unexpected.”

Brummitt expressed his thanks to the staff and volunteers at the golf course, as well as the firefighters and BC Wildfire Service crews that got things under control so quickly.

“There were quite a number of people there,” he said. “We were very impressed with the community support.”

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