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Update: North Cowichan firefighters check for brush-fire hotspots Monday

Firefighter Rick Dey of North Cowichan
Firefighter Rick Dey of North Cowichan's south-end hall battles Sunday's pesky brush fire, started near Duncan's Paradise Pools, while a forestry chopper drops water to help three fire-hall crews.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

North Cowichan firefighters reportedly returned Monday to the charred scene of Sunday's stubborn brush fire, believed started near a riverside pump house near Duncan's Paradise Pools.

The forest blaze was finally snuffed at 10 p.m. Sunday by North Cowichan, Duncan and Maple Bay fire crews, plus a forestry helicopter.

The fire's cause was under investigation. Police had released nothing by press time Tuesday.

At 8 p.m. Sunday the helicopter was scooping water from around the Vimy Road area of the Cowichan River, and was dumping it on the steep-slope blaze.

The chopper left duty at around 8:30 p.m.

Police kept people out of the hard-to-reach fire zone, accessed by a lane opposite Carmel Place at Gibbins Road.

North Cowichan's hall was tipped at about 5:45 p.m. that the fire was spreading to a tree at the bottom of a private trail leading to the Cowichan River swimming hole.

Duncan's fire hall was later called for back-up. Maple Bay's hall also arrived at about 7 p.m. to help extinguish the fire. Firefighters scrambled to gain enough water.

Trees and a hillside area in the Pools' cliffs area are believed to have been toasted.

Fire crews used portable pumps — plus pumper trucks arriving at Carmel and Gibbins — to contain the fire.

The Pools are popular, particularly in summer, with people who park at Cliffs and Banks roads, ignore signs saying No Public Access To River, then trespass down the trail on private property.

Over the years, the Pools have seen various injuries and water rescues, attended by first responders while locals lament traffic congestion and speeding at Cliffs and Banks — plus trash, dog waste, and other junk left by scofflaw trail users, prompting the closure signs.

North Cowichan council was asked, but declined, the property-owner's offer years ago to buy the property and make a municipal, patrolled park.

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