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Residents reminded to be mindful after wildfire sparks in Saanich park

Report sightings and be mindful when using local trails and parks: Saanich fire
Smoke billows over Bear Hill in Saanich on July 9.

Saanich and Central Saanich fire departments put their water tenders to the test after a column of smoke was spotted spiralling off Bear Hill on Tuesday.

Saanich firefighters were called to the east side of the Capital Regional District (CRD) park on July 9 just before 5 p.m., Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Craig Ford told Saanich News.

The Saanich crew responded with a tender and a wild land truck with backup from Central Saanich with a squad and a tender.

Firefighters located a 40-foot by 100-foot ground fire about 1,500 feet off the trail near Central Saanich Road. The fire was out in about 90 minutes and the scene handed over to CRD Parks which manages the land.

While the cause remains under investigation, the Bear Hill Regional Park fire was larger than the handful of small wild land fires Saanich crews have tackled this year. They expect to see an uptick.

A wetter June than usual meant a more manageable fire, however summer is now heating up and drying out, with temperatures above 30 C in the region for the last several days.

“Had this been last year, we would have a significant different fire behaviour,” Ford said.

The same can be said for the forecast a month from now with Environment Canada predicting no rain for days in the Hartland area of Saanich.

Fire crews ask residents to be diligent and vigilant in reporting fires.

“Just because you see a column of smoke doesn’t mean it’s been reported,” Ford said.

Residents should “Report fires for sure and be mindful of how they show up in our environment especially in parks.”

Also on Tuesday, B.C. announced a provincial-wide campfire ban which comes into effect on Friday, July 12 at 12 p.m.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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