A fire in the forest north of the Paquachin First Nation had fire crews from two municipalities and the Ministry of Forestry scrambling to contain it on the afternoon of Oct. 9.
Around 2:25 p.m. the North Saanich Fire Department got a call to attend a brush fire in the vicinity of West Saanich and McTavish Roads.
“It turned out the fire was actually up a gravel driveway and then about 2,000 feet further into the bush,” said North Saanich Fire Chief Gary Wilton. “We weren’t able to drive in in our trucks and had to walk in to the fire where we found an abandoned car that had been torched.”
Fifteen firefighters from North Saanich attended but didn’t have the adequate equipment or water to deal with the fire since they weren’t able to access the fire in their trucks. The fire department called in the Mninstry of Forests from the Cobble Hill attack base as well as Central Saanich Fire Department’s bush truck for mutual aid.
“Before (the Ministry of Forests) arrived, our guys walked in to the scene and stopped the advance by hand until the helicopter was able to arrive from Cobble Hill,” Wilton explained.
Wilton said the helicopter and ground crew arrived about half an hour after the call and the helicopter dropped around 10 loads at 120 gallons (454 liters) on the fire and surrounding area to throughly douse it. The helicopter brought water from a pit located on the Bowcott family’s land which is located on Alec Road.
“We were so thankful for that because because the turnaround time for the helicopter from that location to the fire was about two minutes,” said Wilton.
Through the effort of the fire departments and the MInistry of Forests, the fire was contained within a few hours and Wilton said overall they were very lucky to have contained the fire as efficiently as they did.
“We were just very fortunate that there was absolutetly no wind that day or we would have been in trouble,” he added.