Campers form human chain to battle blaze at Comox Lake Campground


The efforts of several people camping near Comox Lake played a crucial role in containing a bushfire long enough for rescue personnel to get on the scene and take charge.

The Cumberland Fire Department was called out to a campground in Comox Lake for what authorities believe to be a human-caused fire.

It was first spotted around 8 a.m. Thursday, when Quinton Recinos and his mother were driving through the Cumberland Campground.

“We were driving out for the last half day of school when we saw smoke,” recalls Quinton Recinos. “So we went over, we heard crackling, so we went over and got my dad and his friend, and then by the time we got over there was already flames.”

David Brasnyo was in bed when he heard shouting that there was a fire up the road.

“We grabbed what we could see initially, got up there and like Ron said, he went in with our first jug — I came back, got a truck ready, just in case we had to get out of here.”

Ron Recinos says the fire was three meters by three meters in size.

“All the bushes were lighting up,” Recinos said. “[David] ran back, grabbed another container for throwing water on it, and that’s all we had to fight it until the fire department showed up.”

Before long, the group had formed a human chain to bucket water up from the lake and onto the fire.

He says if they didn’t act when they acted, it would have been much worse.

“It would have taken off a lot quicker if it was left alone and we didn’t jump on it,” said David Brasnyo. “Adrenaline kicked in and we just started fighting it, and thank goodness they showed up when they did.”

Thankfully, fire officials arrived on scene not long after.

“We got multiple calls from across the lake, and from here that there was a fire burning in the campsite area,” said Cumberland Fire Department Chief Mike Williamson.

He said it was lucky that the fire was close to the lake’s shore, which made it easier to fight with their fire boat.

“We had about 12 guys on it really quick and contained it to mostly where it started. It was about a 20 by 30 fire,” he added.

Williamson added that it’s a very dangerous area for a fire with the amount of people camping in the area.

“I’m pretty sure it’s human-caused. There’s nothing else around here that would have started it,” Williamson said.

He’s reminding the public that fire conditions are high. “Fire conditions are starting every day on the Island here. These things start very easily. Any fires, smoking in the bush, anything … it could start a fire really quick. It’s always frustrating to see human-caused fires, because they’re preventable.”

READ MORE: All 46 wildfires on Vancouver Island this year are human caused: Coastal Fire Centre

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