Firefighters battle stubborn Stoltz Bluff scorcher

Sahtlam firefighters got assistance from Lake Cowichan to battle a stubborn 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon brush fire at 5876 Stoltz Road.   - Andrew Leong
Sahtlam firefighters got assistance from Lake Cowichan to battle a stubborn 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon brush fire at 5876 Stoltz Road.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Two local fire departments and the B.C.Forest Service fought a fire in the Sahtlam area for five hours on Sunday afternoon.

Mike Lees, deputy chief with the Sahtlam Volunteer Fire Rescue said eight firefighters from his department, six from the Lake Cowichan Fire Department and three members of the B.C. Forest Service battled a one-hectare fire on Stoltz Bluff near Stoltz Road.

Residents in the remote area saw the bush fire, called 911 and were conducting a bucket brigade when the departments arrived on the scene at around 1:30 p.m.

Lees said, "human activity," caused the fire and that the embers left from a pig roast on Saturday are suspected.

"I'll have a better idea when I go back tomorrow," he said.

The Sahtlam department sent out a fire engine and two tenders while Lake Cowichan sent a utility bush fire truck and a tender as well.

The 34 degree temperature, the steep hillside and lots of stumps, roots and trees made the task challenging.

"You have to look for the hot spots or the next day, they come back to bite you," Lees said.

The B.C. Ambulance Service was on the scene and checked the firemen to ensure they weren't overheated.

Almost six hours later, Lees said his department was called back after a resident found a hot spot. It took 30 minutes to put it out.

As a reminder, the deputy fire chief said there are no open fires, no cigarettes and that if you smell smoke, call the fire department.

"Most of all, be careful, it's dry."

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