View Royal firefighter Rob Marshall foams brush on a rocky cliff in Thetis Lake park near Highlands Road to contain a brush fire on Aug. 2.

View Royal firefighter Rob Marshall foams brush on a rocky cliff in Thetis Lake park near Highlands Road to contain a brush fire on Aug. 2.

Large, remote brush fire contained in Thetis Lake park

View Royal Fire Rescue contained an aggressive brush fire that scorched a rocky outcrop at Thetis Lake park Tuesday afternoon and threatened to spread into the forest.



View Royal Fire Rescue contained an aggressive brush fire that scorched a rocky outcrop at Thetis Lake park Tuesday afternoon and threatened to spread into the forest.

The fire burned about half an acre of brush and moss before firefighters smothered the hillside in foam spray. Backed by Colwood Fire Rescue, View Royal threw all the firefighters it could muster to halt the fire’s spread deeper into the park.

View Royal fire Chief Paul Hurst suspects an illegal campfire ignited thick moss, allowing flames to spread and crawl across the hillside. Called in around 3 p.m., the fire was about 1.5 kilometres north from the park entrance on Highland Road.

“It’s a really rugged area. We haven’t had a fire up here before. There’s evidence of camping and partying up in this area,” Hurst said. “This is a reminder that there are no fires permitted in parks … we are sitting at a high to extreme fire danger. This is the grief and devastation caused by an unattended campfire.”

Hundreds of hectares of forest surrounding Thetis Lake is thick with dry brush, leaves and grasses that could feed a potentially devastating forest fire. It’s fortunate Tuesday’s fire didn’t spread beyond the high, rocky bluff, Hurst said.

“It’s going to take weeks of rain to bring this hazard level down. If you look around the forest area now, (the grass) is yellow, we had substantial growth in fuels in spring and summer,” he said. “We are in a situation where we have large amounts of fuel that’s dried out.”

Colwood crews made water runs to a fire hydrant in a Watkiss Way neighbourhood, allowing View Royal firefighters to contain the smoky, smoldering fire within an hour. Highlands Road was closed to traffic for about 40 minutes before vehicles were allowed south to exit the park.

B.C. Forest Service and Capital Regional District fire crews also attended and helped dig out burning moss, a long and labourious process.

At the same time, three bark mulch fires broke out along Island Highway in View Royal, likely from drivers flicking cigarettes in the median during rush hour.

“The most disappointing thing about this is while we were dealing with an unattended or errant campfire, there were (three) other fires in View Royal that Colwood had to respond to,” Hurst said.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

According to Statistics Canada, new housing starts and value of building permits in Greater Victoria rose in January 2021 compared to January 2020. (Black Press Media File)
New housing starts, value of building permits up in Greater Victoria

Cost of new housing also rising in region, now in excess of $1.15 million for a new detached home

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read