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Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief
Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas

A group of people driving by stopped a brush fire from getting much larger on the afternoon of April 15.

Campbell River fire crews were called out to a brush fire near the McIvor Lake turnoff on Highway 28 on Thursday. But they didn’t have to do much when they got there, thanks to the quick thinking of some people who were in the area.

“Just prior to us arriving on scene there, a bunch of bystanders that were travelling along the highway there stopped and had quick access to some portable extinguishers that they used on the fire,” said fire chief Thomas Doherty. “Essentially, they extinguished it and kept it from spreading before we arrived. That was key in keeping that fire down.”

Fire crews don’t know the exact cause of the fire, but are warning people to be careful, especially due to the warmer weather lately.

“What we find this time of year is that all of the fine fuels that were down over the wintertime haven’t had a chance to green up yet, so we have a lot of dry fuels and we see an uptake in bushfires this time of year,” he said. “We’re certainly starting to see them pop up. We’ve had some unattended fires that we’ve been tending too.”

While it is still early in the fire season, it does not take long for a smaller fire to spread.

“Some of the reports were that the flames were upwards of 6 feet in the air, probably encompassing an area of around 10 metres squared,” Doherty said.

Earlier this week, a small fire caught the eye of the Pacific Fire Centre, which took place on North Rendezvous Island near Read Island. That fire too was quickly extinguished by people nearby, along with the Coast Guard.

RELATED: ‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Free wildfire training at NIC’s Campbell River campus starting in March

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