Residents shaken after brush fire sparks in Thetis Lake Park

A Barker Road resident took a picture of the fire in Thetis Lake Park on Aug. 21.

Residents of a heavily forested area in Thetis Lake Park are shaken the day after a brush fire was sparked near their home.

Mike Todd’s neighbour shared pictures of the fire with him, which was just 200 metres from his home on Barker Road.

“We heard the sirens coming up here. But you can’t tell, in the middle of the night, where they are. I thought the sirens were on the highway, myself. Just ignored it. I don’t think I’ll do that again,” Todd said.

Capt. Troy Mollin, View Royal Fire Department, said the call came in just before 10:30 Monday night, and crews were there shortly.

“We arrived, we had about a one-acre fire. Significant fire activity from the road, up the hill. No homes were at risk,” Mollin said.

Neighbours who live close to forested areas of Thetis Lake are aware of the tinder-dry conditions all around them, and the risk they pose.

“We’re trapped. It’s a one-way road. There are ways through the bush out there, but there are lots of gates, and they are all locked,” Todd said.

This fire had the potential to spread, but quick action by multiple crews from neighbouring municipalities including Langford, Colwood and crews from the BC Wildfire Service stopped the fire from spreading beyond the perimeter.

“It had potential for an interface fire (a fire burning forest fuel and buildings simultaneously). There are homes that are further away from this piece of property. Had it grown large enough where it was starting to encroach on neighbourhoods, then that is what we would consider interface,” Mollin said.

With record-breaking dry conditions, the risk is that any brush fire like this could become something much worse.

It has happened before.

In 1987, what started as a small brush fire near Prospect Lake quickly spread as winds fanned its growth, putting the City of Victoria at risk.

Residents living in interface zones are advised to take precautions to reduce their own risk.

Mollin said residents should familiarize themselves with information on interface fires, and how to protect their homes available on FireSmartBC.

With no lightning, the cause of Monday night’s fire is considered suspicious, though the source of ignition has not yet been determined. Mollin says this could range from an improperly disposed of cigarette, to dumping materials or a campfire.

Another reminder the end of fire season is a long way off.

WATCH: ‘Essential ecological process’: Strathcona Park wildfires merge into large blaze; no plan to fight it: officials

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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