Several motorists and a Town of Qualicum Beach staff member quickly scrambled to contain a grass fire on Thursday, July 8.
Fire chief Peter Cornell said at 2:40 p.m., the Qualicum Beach Fire Department attended the Memorial Avenue roundabout, where a small grass fire had started.
When firefighters arrived, Cornell said they found several people, along with an employee of the town’s parks department, working to put out the blaze with an extinguisher.
According to deputy fire chief Friso McKenzie, the town staff member had been operating a backhoe nearby when he saw smoke.
Fire crews then used a hose line to wet down any remaining hot spots.
McKenzie, being one of the first of the Qualicum Beach Fire Department to arrive on scene, said while there was no evidence of what may have started the fire, grass fires next to roadways are often ignited by discarded cigarettes.
“That stretch of road is very busy during that time of day, so there were many motorists who observed the fire; 911 received multiple calls regarding the fire, and several motorists drove straight to the fire hall to report it as it was literally right around the corner - we could see the smoke,” wrote McKenzie in an email to PQB News.
He said since the grass is very dry right now if the fire had started at night, with less traffic and community members around, it could have spread before anyone noticed.
The fire department requests people be extra careful during dry spells as area forest fires are almost entirely caused by human activity, and as such, are preventable.