Firefighters tackle wildfire on southern Vancouver Island

Firefighters tackle wildfire on southern Vancouver Island
The Tugwell Creek wildfire on Vancouver Island is pictured on Aug. 1, 2023. (BC Wildfire Service)

BC Wildfire Service continues to battle the Tugwell Creek wildfire, which broke out late Tuesday afternoon and remains out of control.

The fire was discovered in a remote area north of Sooke and Shirley.

An initial fire attack crew and a helicopter were dispatched to the fire, which measured approximately 1.5 hectares on Tuesday evening.

The Tugwell Creek wildfire on Vancouver Island is pictured on Aug. 1, 2023. (BC Wildfire Service)

Fire information officer Gordon Robinson says firefighters worked overnight to quell the fire, which was burning at a rank of two to three, representing a low to moderate vigorous surface fire.

Two firefighting teams and a forest industry crew returned to the fire site on Wednesday morning and found that the fire did not grow significantly overnight, Robinson says.

The fire is still estimated to be 1.5 hectares large as of Wednesday evening and had lessened to a rank one fire or smouldering ground fire.

Three pieces of heavy equipment and a BC Wildfire Service fire response officer were also dispatched to the Tugwell Creek fire Wednesday.

Residents in the remote area witnessed as crews battled the flame, applauding personnel’s effort to prevent flames from spreading to their homes.

Micheal Wiebe and his family were among those who called in after seeing smoke in the skies.

“I was thinking there’s fires in Osooyoos, Saskatchewan, all over the place that didn’t even have any resources yet. To have a couple of bombers, the fire retardant — we saw that drop all within an hour of response at least after I called — it’s a pretty phenomenal response.”

The family had built their home a few years ago and say this was the closest they had come close to a situation like this.

“We already had a plan in tact, did a quick video of the premises for possessions, we got water on hand,” said Wiebe.

Alanna Smith and her family were outside watching as the planes flew over and air tankers dropped retardants. Living in Sooke her entire life, she had never come close to a blaze like the Tugwell Creek fire.

“I guess it’s a wake-up call to realize that this can happen, it can happen anytime. So we should be ready,” said Smith.

Robinson says crews will now be “constructing guard” around the fire and tackling it directly, with help from the heavy equipment.

“This fire was human caused and is not threatening any structures at this time,” Robinson told CHEK News Wednesday morning.

According to the BC Wildfire Service website, there are currently 365 active wildfires burning across the province.

RELATED: Fundraiser honours Zak Muise, who died fighting wildfire in B.C.

The wildfire location is shown. (BC Wildfire Service)

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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