Hot day on mountain leads to third rescue for local firefighters

Injured hiker rescued from Mt. Finlayson in Langford

Langford Fire Rescue is reminding hikers to be prepared and well equipped before attempting to hike Mt. Finlayson.

Fire crews were dispatched to the mountain on Saturday at around 1:30 p.m., after a 57-year-old woman rolled her ankle. Assistant Chief Chris Aubrey said firefighters had helped the woman off the mountain by roughly 3:40 p.m., a relatively quick rescue by the department’s standards.

While it wasn’t a great distance between the injured hiker and the spot where firefighters left their all-terrain vehicle, Aubrey noted the rescue was undertaken on quite challenging terrain. The afternoon heat didn’t help matters.

“It was very, very hot that day,” he said, adding that up above the tree line on the rock face, temperatures would have been even higher.

The department transported the woman via the ATV to an ambulance waiting at the Bear Mountain resort area.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is making contact with whomever is with the patient and figuring out where exactly they are.”

Aubrey credited the relatively short rescue time to the fact the woman was hiking with a group, was wearing appropriate clothing and was prepared for the hike, including having a cell phone with her.

“This is not just a ‘go for a Sunday hike mountain’ … it’s in a league of its own. The amount of calls we get each year is a good indicator of that.”

Saturday’s rescue was the third of the year on Mt. Finlayson.

But with the department entering the peak season for such calls, Aubrey anticipates they’ll have six to eight more by the end of August. Langford Fire Rescue typically responds to about 12 calls a year on Mt. Finlayson.

While the rescue team is usually made up of approximately half a dozen firefighters, Aubrey said, there are usually about 20 on scene to help with rescue efforts.

Rescue operations can last anywhere from two-and-a-half hours upwards to eight hours. If another call comes in during that time, the department’s resources can get stretched pretty thin, he said. “We were fortunate in this case.”

However, firefighters on scene Saturday were quick to note a large number of passing hikers that were inadequately prepared for the hike.

Aubrey said proper footwear and clothing, a fully charged cell phone, food and enough water are essential, as the weather on the mountain can change very rapidly.

“We don’t want to deter people from doing it,” he said, adding that with some preparation and planning, this challenging hike can be quite enjoyable and scenic.

Fire Chief Bob Beckett said the rescued woman’s husband called and thanked the department, acknowledging just how hot and dry it was for rescuers.

The woman is doing fine and was returning to Calgary for surgery.

Just Posted

Victoria City Councillor Laurel Collins wins federal NDP nomination

Collins will run for Victoria in the upcoming federal election

WATCH: Soon-to-be guide dogs take part in the Amazing Puppy Race

10 puppies training to be guide dogs took part in a social Easter egg hunt

Long weekend starts with series of crashes

The long weekend traffic pile up is starting with a series of… Continue reading

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

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

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Most Read