The charred grass and blackberry bushes on Homewood road at 9th Avenue show just how close a brush fire came to burning down a Campbell River home on Sunday.

“It was very concerning because we turned the corner and saw that it was like right close to our house,” said neighbour Teresa McMillan.

Fire Chief Thomas Doherty says his department’s three minute response time from their downtown fire hall likely saved the home because the flames were already spreading fast.

“On arrival crews found fire moving quickly through the grass here,” said Doherty. “It spread to about 10 feet by 50 feet in through the grass and the bramble bushes here very close to the adjacent home.”

The occupant of the home says the blackberry bushes really started to grow out of control this spring but he thought because they were green they wouldn’t burn, which is a common misconception according to the fire chief.

“So some of the canopy you see protects underlying vegetation so the little moisture that we’ve gotten isn’t getting down underneath that canopy so it’s very dry underneath,” said Doherty.

He says he’s concerned about the combustible growth so close to the home and others, and the department will be making house calls in the coming weeks to homes that are at a similar risk to talk about being fire smart.

“So that’s clearing combustible materials at least ten metres away from your house as well limbing trees up two metres from the ground and spacing them three metres apart.

It’s important advice as our climate changes and we see more fires every year.

“We’ve seen some of the largest fires recorded in history, some of the largest areas burned, we’ve had record expenditures in the province dealing with forest fires and all of this can be attributed to a warming temperatures in our area,” said University Geography professor Chris Bone.

If you’re in Campbell River and interested in a Fire Smart booklet you can pick one up at No. 1 Fire Hall (675-13th Ave) or access it online at hereFacebookTwittergoogle_plusShare

Dean Stoltz