A quick moving brush along Sooke Road destroyed one cabin and took crews roughly three hours to contain.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but it is believed to be human caused. The West Shore RCMP confirmed they were provided with a licence plate number of a motorhome that was believed to be dragging something, leaving sparks in its wake. Officers are following up with the registered owner.
Metchosin Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop confirmed the cause is still under investigation and fire crews are assisting police with that part of the investigation.
In total, 25 firefighters from five departments responded to the blaze which started shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. They were joined by six forest firefighters and a helicopter.
The Metchosin fire department was first on scene and discovered a roughly one and a half kilometre stretch with approximately 20 spot fires near Kangaroo Road. “In my mind, I was like ‘holy cow, there’s a lot of fire,’” Dunlop said when she first arrived.
Video shot by Noah Threlfall.Posted by Sooke News Mirror on Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Sooke Road was quickly closed in both directions, with vehicles detouring via Happy Valley, Rocky Point and Gillespie roads. Sooke Road reopened to single lane alternating traffic just after 8 p.m. Crews were on scene until after 2 a.m., continuing to mop up and monitor hot spots.
Firefighters continued to check the area until late Thursday morning. “We were just there now and we’re 100 per cent confident now it won’t reignite,” Dunlop said.
While the fires were mostly contained to the area near the roadway, she noted there was a lot of smoke due old cars and other debris buried in the hillside. “That caused a lot of panic for some,” she said.
The department’s main priority was protecting nearby structures. One cabin in the 4400-block of Sooke Road was lost but a nearby home was saved. There were no injuries as a result of the fire. Both properties housed a number of animals with everything from emus to cats noted Dunlop. While two cats and a dog were saved from the cabin, one cat is still unaccounted for.
The landscape also caused some challenges for crews. “It got up into a fairly heavy and dense forested area up the hill,” noted Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey. “The biggest challenge is that it’s just really dense terrain with no water supply.”
Metchosin, Langford and Sooke are preparing to send a joint crew of firefighters and equipment to help in the Interior. By pooling resources Dunlop noted it won’t leave any local departments short resources in the evident another fire flares up locally. “This fire proved how quickly they can spread,” she said, adding it also took an incredible amount of resources to contain and completely extinguish.
-With files from Joel Tansey