Campfire blamed for blaze that partly closed Thetis Lake park

An abandoned campfire is to blame for a fire that destroyed more than three acres of remote forest atop Thetis Lake Regional Park, View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst said Tuesday night.

“Someone last night was camping here and had a campfire and left it, and we had a little bit of wind in the afternoon and we end up with a forest fire,” Hurst said. “This is exactly why we’re asking people not to have campfires this time of year.”

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A campfire ban is in place across Vancouver Island.

The blaze atop Seymour Hill, about 140 metres above Thetis Lake, could not be easily accessed by ground crews, Hurst said. Helicopters were summoned from Cobble Hill fire base by the B.C. Forest Service.

It took an hour and about 900 metres of water supply line and two portable water tanks for firefighters to reach the blaze from the ground.

“The forestry crew with the helicopters and bucket definitely stopped the advance of the fire and held it for us,” Hurst said. “If we didn’t have that crew … it would have been a whole different story.”

The park’s main beach was temporarily closed as the helicopters drew water from the lake. The entire park reopened Tuesday night after the blaze was put out.

Firefighters and a Capital Regional District crew are to return to the park Wednesday morning to finish mopping up, ensure all hot spots remain extinguished, and to retrieve their gear.

View Thetis Lake Regional Park in a larger map

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