The Victoria skyline is almost hidden by smoke in August. (Travis Paterson/Black Press file photo) The Victoria skyline was almost hidden by smoke from wildfires this summer. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

UPDATED: Prescribed burn blamed for smoky skies in Greater Victoria

Smoke from Sooke and Shirley descended on the region Halloween night

Local fire departments attribute Wednesday’s smoky skies to a controlled burn near Sooke.

They took to social media to inform residents.

“This smoke is drifting out from the Westshore into @saanich and @CityOfVictoria the smoke index is high at the moment. There are no active fires here,” Saanich fire tweeted.

Langford Fire Department Chief Chris Aubrey said they started getting calls about smoke in that community around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Aubrey said the department sent people out to look for the source of the smoke but didn’t find anything in the area. They were told by BC Forest Service that there were controlled burns between Shirley and Sooke.

Aubrey also said it is suspected the burns were coming from a Timber West property, although that has yet to be confirmed.

By 5:30 p.m., Aubrey said the smoke cleared up and the air quality index changed just in time for families to go trick-or-treating.

Aubrey said the Langford Fire detachment was “inundated” with calls from residents about the smoke.

In the future, Aubrey said he advises residents to only call 9-1-1 if they see flames or a distinct column of smoke. He said it can take a lot of time and energy to field several calls.

“We’re thankful for the public vigilance,” Aubrey said.

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