DRAMATIC FIRE FOUGHT AT TWIN ISLANDS
The ever-potential threat of wild fire became a reality on Tuesday, September 19th, and required both Fire Boats and Forestry Water Bombers to bring the fire under control.
At around 4:30 PM emergency calls were received about a house on fire at Twin Islands. SVFD Fire Chief Larry Scott got to the scene by boat shortly after 5:00 PM and assumed command at the incident. Already at the scene was the Fire Boat based out of North Vancouver. A second Fire Boat based out of Burnaby also attended the scene on a standby basis, and a crew of SVFD Fire Fighters with a pumper truck and water tanker were stationed at Camp Howdy. The Lifeboat Society Rescue Boat based out of Deep Cove was also dispatched to the scene by the Coast Guard command centre in Victoria.
While the Fire Boat did a great job of “knocking-down” the “fully involved” house fire, the limited range of the boat-mounted water-monitor could not reach the fire that had already spread to the trees on the mountainside. As a result, Chief Scott immediately called the Forestry command centre in Nanaimo who dispatched a helicopter and crew from Pemperton that arrived about 5:45 PM. Forestry also dispatched two Mars Water Bombers from the Sprout Lake base on Vancouver Island, and these aircraft arrived about 30 minutes later. It was a dramatic scene with the Mars Water Bombers circling over Belcarra and Indian Arm.
When the helicopter arrived, the crew concluded that the fire was already too large for their capability, and instructed the Water Bombers to tackle the job. One Water Bomber dropped water and foam on the mountainside above the path of the fire and, after a re-filling “scoop” between Deep Cove and Racoon Island, the plane dropped a second load of water and foam on the lower side of the slope between the fire and adjacent houses. Meanwhile, the second Water Bomber circled on standby and then returned to base.
The Fire Boats stayed until dark, after which Chief Scott and the Lifeboat Society Rescue Boat stood fire watch at the scene until midnight, as did the SVFD Fire Fighters on standby at Camp Howdy. Throughout the evening, “flares” and “hot spots” were monitored. The area was still smoking the next day.
It is fortunate that there is such a broad range of emergency response organizations that came together to deal with such an incident. It is also fortunate that the fire didn’t start later in the evening, since it would have been the next morning before the water bombers could have tackled what would have become a much bigger forest fire!
On behalf of all Belcarra residents, I extend our collective thanks to the SVFD Fire Fighters, Forestry Service personnel, Fire Boat and Lifeboat Society crews.
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Village of Belcarra
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