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Photos: Firefighters on the scene of a second Dallas Road fire

Sep 09 2012
A fire blazes at Finlayson Point, for the second morning in a row. 

A fire blazes at Finlayson Point, for the second morning in a row.

Photograph by: Staff , Times Colonist

Victoria firefighters were called to the scene of a blaze at Dallas Road this morning, the second in the past two days.
Crews arrived at the Finlayson Point beach around 1:30 a.m. to find 15-by-15-foot flames about to encroach upon a cinder-dry embankment.
“The fire was nearly going up the bank because of the high winds last night,” said acting battalion chief Doug Carey. Firefighters had to drape a hose down the steep embankment to the sea-level fire, only accessible by narrow wooden stairs. They used water and foam to control the blaze.
At 8:30 a.m. the blaze still engulfed a section of driftwood on the beach and smoke could be seen from the popular dog park and walkway at the top of the embankment, across from Beacon Hill Park.
Also seen along the walkway were the charred remains of a wooden fence and brush from a previous fire.
At one point, fire crews had to leave the scene and attend to a nearby medical emergency. They returned about twenty minutes later.
“These fires tie up an entire crew. We don’t just attend to beach fires,” said Carey. “If we’re called to a cardiac incident and are tied up it could be the difference between life and death for someone.”
He said the fire was definitely caused by a person and urged the public to be more responsible when fire bans are on. It’s not known if the fire is related to one set in the same area yesterday.
Firefighters also responded to an early-morning fire Saturday and found flames and smoke climbing a bank on Dallas Road.
Questions were raised as to how the blaze started, Carey said.
“The suspicion is that the fire was deliberately set,” he said.
A crew was called at 5:45 a.m. to a fire at Finlayson Point, located below the Beacon Hill pavilion.
Earlier in the night, a man was issued a $350 fine for having a beach fire in the same area, Carey said.
Beach fires are illegal within city limits, and can lead to a fine ranging from $350 to $2,000.
Finlayson Point was the scene of a similar incident earlier this year, when a beach fire spread up the bluffs to street level.
Nine firefighters and three vehicles were dispatched Saturday.
Carey said the crew made good use of the ladder truck in fighting the flames.
“The fire was on a steep bank, and they stuck the ladder out over top of the bank and then directed the nozzles downward to spray the fire,” he said.
It’s been just over a month since Victoria fire officials issued a reminder that beach fires are not permitted in the municipality.
“Right now, I would classify the conditions as extreme for brush fires,” Carey said.
“We’re at a drought stage in that we haven’t had any rain for such a long time.”
Despite the ban, about 210 fires are lit on city beaches each year.
Among the measures to keep the number of fires down has been removing wood and othercombustibles from key beach areas such as Dallas Road and Gonzales Bay — an operation that can cost the city up to $20,000.
Part of the effort to control beach fires this year has been a system of “proactive” educational patrols involving police, firefighters and Victoria bylaw staff.
localnews@timescolonist.com

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