Firefighters as they wet down any remaining hot spots after an aggressive bush fire northwest of Qualicum Bay on Wednesday, July 15, 2021. (Willow Bloomquist photo)

Firefighters as they wet down any remaining hot spots after an aggressive bush fire northwest of Qualicum Bay on Wednesday, July 15, 2021. (Willow Bloomquist photo)

4 fire departments respond to ‘aggressive’ brush fire near Qualicum Bay

Helicopter on standby but ultimately not needed

Multiple fire departments worked for hours to suppress an aggressive grass fire on Wednesday afternoon (July 14).

The fire was on a property between Qualicum Bay and Bowser along the Island Highway.

As the first to arrive on scene, deputy fire chief Mark Taylor of the Bow Horn Bay Volunteer Fire Department said the fire was not only rapidly spreading in all directions, but a log pile and BC Hydro pole were also involved.

The log pile, approximately four metres high, was “burning like a fireplace,” and required dismantling by a nearby bulldozer to ensure it was appropriately wet down.

The hydro pole that ran through the centre of the property was a serious concern, since, according to Taylor, if flames had made contact with the wires and melted them off the pole, it would have introduced the danger of live electrical wires on the ground.

Fortunately, firefighters were quick enough to douse the pole and suppress the blaze before it reached the top.

When BC Hydro arrived, they determined the damage to the pole was superficial, with no damage to the wires.

READ MORE: Fire crews stop spread of wildfire near Port Alberni

Shortly after arriving, the Bowhorn Bay firefighters requested mutual aid from the Coombs/Hilliers, Qualicum Beach and Dashwood fire departments.

Taylor said that BC Wildfire was also notified of the blaze and they provided an overhead helicopter.

“They were preparing to do a drop, if required. But by the time we had our mutual aid crews on scene, we were able to bring it under control,” he said.

The Bow Horn Bay Volunteer Fire Department estimated the fire grew to more than an acre and took four hours to completely suppress. While firefighters noted the blaze itself was out in good time, crews stayed to monitor the area, wet down any hot spots and turn over soil. Taylor could not say for certain what caused the blaze.

No injuries were reported and no structures caught fire.

According to Taylor, 2021 is looking to be the worst for fires in recent years.

“We definitely have had more brush fires as of late. And you can see how dry it is, we haven’t really had rain since May.”

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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