Langford firefighters hose down hot spots on a grass fire next to Belmont secondary at Jenkins Road that sent smoke wafting through Langford on Tuesday afternoon.

Three recent fires human-caused, says Langford fire inspector

Firefighters keep busy putting out fires resulting from carelessness

Just minutes after cleaning himself up from responding to a spontaneous combustion fire at Slegg Lumbern on Tuesday afternoon, Langford Fire Inspector Chris Aubrey’s phone buzzed, followed quickly by station-wide sirens.

A grass fire had sparked at the corner of Jacklin and Jenkins roads, keeping Langford Fire Rescue busy after an already swamped long weekend.

“It’s been a busy 48 to 72 hours,” Aubrey said.

Last Saturday, 10 firefighters hiked 20 minutes into Goldstream Provincial Park with portable extinguishers and water packs to put out an unattended campfire, a job that saw the department call the Ministry of Forests for aid. With no water immediately nearby, it could have been a very dangerous situation if the winds had picked up, Aubrey said.

On B.C. Day evening Monday, the fire department received calls from residents on Crystalview Drive reporting smoke behind their homes. The calls were soon echoed by residents on Atkins Road as the smoke spread and the fire kept growing.

“From the time we got the call to when we actually got water on it, it had grown from 10 or 15 (feet) by 50 feet to 150 by 500 feet,” said Aubrey, who was with responders.

“It was 10 times the size in a matter of minutes.”

There was evidence in the area that led the department to believe it was another human-caused fire.

“Whether it was intentional or accidental, we don’t know yet,” he said, adding it took more than two dozen firefighters to contain the Crystalview blaze. “That’s the closest we’ve come to houses in a while.”

As for the Tuesday fire next to Belmont secondary, Aubrey said it was “definitely human-caused. There’s no reason for a fire to start in an open field like that.”

In addition to Goldstream and Crystalview, several other smaller calls kept 30 volunteer firefighters going all weekend long, but the start of the work week doesn’t seem to have slowed their pace at all.

Aubrey stressed the need for the public to avoid actions that might cause a fire, given the hot, dry conditions.

“We’re no different here,” he said, referring to the widespread and destructive fires raging in the B.C. Interior. “All it takes is one fire to get away and that’s it.”

The difference between the Island and the Interior is that lightning is much more rare here, he said, which unfortunately means “most of our fires are human-caused.”

Aubrey said that while they’re thankful to the public for quickly reporting smoke and fires, there are still too many lit cigarette butts being carelessly tossed aside without regard for the consequences.

“We’ve got the driest conditions now since 2003. We really need the public to be extra vigilant.”

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP investigating after parking lot carjacking in Langford

Man was thrown from his vehicle near Millstream Road McDonald’s Monday night

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

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

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Most Read