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Gowlland Tod fire a reminder wildfires can happen anytime, says fire department

Highlands fire prompts appeal from authorities to assess homes for wildfires
Highlands Volunteer Fire Department, Langford Fire Rescue and BC Wildfire Service battled a one-hectare wildfire south of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park last week. Central Saanich Fire is urging residents to assess their homes against the backdrop of record-high temperatures and drought conditions. (BC Wildfire Service/Facebook)

Officials with the Central Saanich Fire Department are encouraging residents to assess their homes for fire safety after a recent wildfire not far from the community.

“The recent Gowlland Tod Provincial Park wildfire should remind us all that a wildfire can happen anytime, without warning,” the department said in a tweet, just before Fire Prevention Week running Oct. 9 to 15. “Get your free FireSmart home assessment today and see what steps you can take to reduce your risk.”

Gowlland Tod Provincial Park lies to the south of the municipality, in Highlands and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, with a section not far from Butchart Gardens. BC Wildfire Service lists the 0.8-hectare fire first discovered on Oct. 4 as out. Authorities suspect humans caused the fire. Crews from Highlands Volunteer Fire Department, Langford Fire Rescue and BC Wildfire Service battled the fire, which burnt on the steep slopes of the park.

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The appeal from Central Saanich following the fire comes as the region continues to deal with record-high temperatures and drought conditions.

Victoria International Airport’s weather station recorded the warmest September since 1941 last month. While the mean temperature of a normal year would be 15.3 C, this year’s is 17.9 C. The station also recorded the second-driest September since 1941, with just one millimetre of rain recorded, compared to an average of 31.1 mm.

Authorities have raised the drought level for Greater Victoria (along with the rest of eastern Vancouver Island) to level 4, with 5 being the highest level. It means “adverse impacts are likely.” The drought level for the western portion of Vancouver Island starting in Jordan River is 5. It means “adverse impacts are almost certain.”

See here for more information from Central Saanich Fire.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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