Firefighters work to contain a brush fire that broke out in East Sooke on Aug. 8. (Submitted photo)

UPDATE: East Sooke brush fire ‘was just dense, white smoke,’ says resident

Crews were ‘on top of’ three-hectare fire shortly after 5 p.m.

Firefighters were gaining control over a brush fire in East Sooke shortly after 5 p.m. on Aug. 8, after the fire led to the voluntary evacuation of several homes.

East Sooke Fire Chief Roger Beck told Black Press Media the fire was about three hectares and crews were “on top of it.”

The blaze, on Mount Matheson Road, was reported at about 3 p.m. Thursday and had seen fire crews from Sooke, East Sooke and Metchosin, as well as B.C. Wildfire, respond. B.C. Ambulance Service and RCMP were also at the scene, though no injuries had been reported.

According to Coastal Fire Centre information officer Natasha Broznitsky, B.C. Wildfire helicopters were initially called in to assist in fighting the blaze, but were called off.

Beck said when he arrived on scene the fire was affecting a few houses, burning into decks and yards. He said crews immediately knocked down the parts of the fire affecting the houses, then flanked the fire and chased it down the hill.

“It’s not the ideal way you want to fight a fire,” he said. “Normally, you want to get below it and chase it up, but the structures, the properties of value were at the head of the fire, so it changed our tactics.”

With the big flames knocked out, he said crews began focusing their efforts on hotspots being whipped up by the wind.

Chief Stephanie Dunlop with the Metchosin Fire Department said communication in the area was difficult, because of the terrain.

“It’s very rocky and hilly there, so communications are very difficult,” Dunlop said.

The fire seemed to have started near a path, Beck said, but no obvious cause had been identified.

“It could just be spontaneous combustion from mosses and grasses,” he said. “We did have rain the other day and wet grass, it can spontaneously ignite.”

Beck said when mosses and grasses get a little wet it gives anaerobic bacteria “what they need to get going and then it lights fires.”

Crews did not carry out an evacuation order, however, Beck said they recommended that residents living closest to the fire leave their homes.

“We’re not giving them the order to evacuate, but common sense is, if the wind whips up again, things could go bad fast, so get what you need and go have dinner in town tonight,” he said.

Resident Doug Pepino said he was home when the firetrucks were first arriving on his road.

“At first when you looked through the trees you couldn’t see the city,” Pepino said. “It was just dense, white smoke.”

He said responders told him and his wife Carol to stand by, and be prepared to evacuate.

“It was a little tense, but as the time went on and folks were really working it, you could see them starting to relax a little bit,” he said.

Another resident who preferred not to be named said the fire was initially directly affecting their home and they started fighting it with their garden hose before leaving. The resident said the fire did not ultimately reach the structures on their property or their neighbour’s property, but anticipated some smoke damage.

Several posts on the Metchosin Facebook site reported that smoke from the fire was noticeable and could be smelled up to Matheson Lake Park Road.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying legislature in Victoria set press conference

Demonstrators have been occupying the legislature since Monday despite injunction

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

UPDATED: Demonstrators plan to shut down Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon

Adam Olsen, MLA, says issue should be taken to province, not communities

Wear your rose-coloured glasses for the second annual Pink Shirt Gala

Anti-bullying event promises pink drinks, food and shirts

Pink Shirt Day originator to speak at Monterey school in Oak Bay

Travis Price continues anti-bullying movement with Island tour

Rail disruptions expected to continue after new protest sites emerge

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

Fake meat and a latte? Starbucks adds Beyond Meat in Canada

The Seattle roaster has talked about introducing plant-based patties in the U.S., but has yet to do so

Most Read