Members of the Colwood fire department keep an eye on billowing smoke coming from a downed tree branch along Sooke Road earlier today.

Members of the Colwood fire department keep an eye on billowing smoke coming from a downed tree branch along Sooke Road earlier today.

Smoky situation in Colwood snuffed out by heavy rains

An energized tree branch threatened to ignite along Sooke Road, but was halted by another wave of rain.

What the wind giveth, the rain taketh away.

That was the case on Tuesday morning near the intersection of Sooke and Metchosin roads. Colwood fire department crews were spared from a potentially hairy situation after a tree branch, downed on a main power line, appeared ready to burst into flames.

The branch, and by extension the tree, smoked, smouldered and eventually caught fire after being knocked onto the line by strong winds, but a powerful blast of rain snuffed out any possibility that the fire would progress.

The department was alerted of the fire from a neighbouring homeowner, who noticed that a branch had made contact with the line.

“When we arrived there was some concern regarding the energized tree itself … we had some concerns regarding the safety of the overall area,” said Colwood fire Lt. Brian Erwin.

It wasn’t possible to cut power to the line as it was a primary feeder line for the area, he added.

Traffic along Sooke Road was stopped intermittently for a period of time, as fire crews sought to keep the area safe. The department was also there in case the situation progressed.

“If we see a change, maybe there’s some damage to the line or if a power line comes down … we’re there immediately to ensure the overall safety of the area,” Erwin said.

The crew had a fire extinguisher ready in case any debris from the burning tree fell and started something on the ground. Following the blast of rain, BC Hydro sent a crew up in a lift truck to remove the damaged branch.

Around the same time, Colwood fire responded to a downed tree at the intersection of Sooke Road and Cecil Blogg Drive. In the latter incident, a tree took out a service line for three private residences and the road was blocked off while crews managed the scene.

With a plethora of heavily treed areas, Colwood is particularly susceptible to incidents like these during wind storms. According to the City’s manager of public works, Colwood staff have a set protocol when stormy weather is in the forecast. Equipment and vehicles are checked and staff are scheduled for after hours call outs as required.

Drainage is also checked in flood prone areas, such as Ocean Boulevard.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com