North Cowichan firefighters had to deal with a second brush fire that flared up just hours after they extinguished another one on Thursday, May 9.
Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, said the fire was located on 45-degree slope on Stoney Hill, just across the bay from the Maple Bay marina.
He said firefighters from the Maple Bay, Crofton and South End fire halls responded to the call, and had to use the municipality’s fire boat, which is stationed in Maple Bay, to attack the fire and transport firefighters to the isolated area.
“The fire grew to about 300 by 100 feet before the crews started to bring it under control, which took about two hours,” Drakeley said.
“When dusk came, the firefighters had to leave the site, but they thoroughly wet it down before they left. The firefighters returned early Friday morning and began mop-up operations.”
Drakeley said it appears the fire began after a tree branch fell on a hydro line from a private residence.
“It’s a good thing we got to it early because it’s really dry out there,” he said.
Just about six hours earlier, fire crews from the Crofton, North Cowichan-South End and Maple Bay fire halls were joined by a BC Wildfire Service crew to battle a brush fire just south of where Mt. Sicker Road intersects with the Trans Canada Highway.
When the firefighters arrived, the fire had spread to 100-feet by 200-feet and was moving up the hill.
It took several hours for the fire to be brought under control.
The cause of that fire is not yet known.
There have now been three brush fires so far in the Cowichan Valley this spring.
Low humidity and high winds helped feed a wildfire that grew to approximately 1.5 hectares on April 27 south of Lake Cowichan, by the Fairservice Main logging road, before fire fighters got it under control.
Last year was the worst wildfire season on record in B.C., with approximately 1,300,000 hectares burned in almost 600 fires by the end of August.
The fire danger rating for the Cowichan Valley currently ranges from moderate to high, which means there is an increased risk of fire due to dry conditions.
Drakeley said this is unusual for this time of year.
He said that the long Victoria Day weekend is fast approaching and people heading to the woods should check the fire ratings, and if there any fire bans in effect, for the areas where they intend to go.
“We’re usually drowning in rain at this time of year,” Drakeley said.
“Most fire agencies are prepping their materials and increasing their training in preparation for what could be a very busy fire season this year.”