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Brush fire sparks from encampment in Sechelt

A quick response from Sechelt Fire Department prevents a larger blaze.

The Sechelt Fire Department responded to a brush fire on a trail off of Sechelt Inlet Road on Sunday. 

A team of four firefighters and one fire engine were dispatched to combat the blaze, Sechelt assistant fire chief Dwight Davison told Coast Reporter

The fire was quickly extinguished and a survey of the surrounding area revealed that the fire originated from a nearby homeless encampment.

Davison said there was nobody in the encampment when crews arrived and that the unattended fire had spread into surrounding bushes and trees. 

“[When] our crew showed up, it was approximately 400 square feet in size. It started on the ground and then caught the tree on fire. They were able to knock the fire down, fully extinguish it and overhaul the area to ensure that it wasn't burning in the ground or underneath the ground at the root system,” said Davison. 

According to Davison, these types of fires are very common this time of year.

Most of the smaller wildland fires on the Coast are caused by humans, and “a lot of that is associated with homeless encampments, whether they're along the beach or down some of these better-known trails that they tend to frequent,” he said.

In a joint statement from shíshálh Nation and the District of Sechelt, shíshálh lhe hiwus yalxwemult (Chief Lenora Joe) said, “We need to focus even more now on keeping our communities safe. Thanks to the shíshálh members who saw the fire and called 911. And thanks to Sechelt Fire Department who was so quick to respond to Sunday’s incident.” 

In the same statement, District of Sechelt Mayor, John Henderson said, “Yesterday’s brush fire near East Porpoise Bay Road demonstrates the importance of everyone being ultra vigilant in protecting our community. We all have a role to play – watching for signs of any fires, carrying fire blankets and extinguishers and, for smokers, carrying a container and taking your butts home with you."

A quick response is key to dealing with fires, to report a wildfire, call 1-800-663-5555 or text *5555 from a cell phone.

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.