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Illegal campfire at Thetis park sparks three-hour battle

Aug 30 2012

An illegal campfire caused a blaze in the brush at Thetis Lake park Tuesday night.

Firefighters called to the park about 6 p.m. had to travel to the park’s remote northwest portion, not far from where it borders the Western Speedway property.

“We managed to get our bush truck in as far as we could off of Bellamy Road, and then getting equipment and the guys in we used four-wheel-drive quads,” said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst.

The crew found definite signs of human activity near the fire site, he said.

“It’s a pretty well-hidden but well-used camping-slash-living area,” Hurst said. “There’s no camping permitted in the park at all, and no fires permitted.”

The fire was knocked down quickly, but water was needed and there was none in the area.

Hurst said the Coastal Fire Centre was contacted about bringing water via helicopter, but it was getting too late in the day for the aircraft to fly.

The firefighters drove out of the bush to get water from a municipal hydrant, he said.

“It took a pretty small fire and extended [the response] into three hours just because of its location and the lack of water,” Hurst said.

Despite recent rain and cooler temperatures, he said, the public should take care in the outdoors.

“It’s still amazingly dry out there,” Hurst said. “A lot of our brush fires occur in September [and] October just because people think it’s not summertime any more.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com