Minnekhada fire spans nearly 12 hectares; blaze expected to last several days

Photographer Hagen Pflueger posted this photo of the Minnekhada blaze to social media late Saturday. photo supplied Hagen Pflueger

What began as a small brushfire Saturday morning swelled to a 12-hectare blaze by Sunday evening, largely due to the dry and unforgiving terrain.

More than 30 firefighters and five helicopters spent Sunday trying to beat back the swelling wildfire at Minnekhada Regional Park, explained Metro Vancouver spokesman Brant Arnold-Smith on Sunday evening.

“We’ve done our best to hold the line,” he said. “It’s a really stubborn fire that is on very steep cliffs.”


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By Sunday afternoon the small brushfire had spread. photo supplied Timo Juurakko, Tri-City Photography Club

Those cliffs have made it a challenge to do more than contain the fire.

“We’ve had to really rely on the fire coming to us because it’s unsafe for crews to get in due to falling trees, debris, rock,” Arnold-Smith told the Dispatch on Sunday evening.

The fire spread on Saturday evening, in part due to rolling, flaming debris that streak down the cliffside and ignite dry brush.

“There’s many areas our ground crews cannot get into,” Arnold-Smith said.

While ground crews have been digging lines and using trails as fire breaks, five helicopters have been ferrying buckets of water from Pitt River and dumping them on the blaze.

“We’ve been able to hold the fire and contain it in its place throughout today,” he said.

However, Arnold-Smith said he expected the fire to be “prolonged.”

“We’ll be here over a number of days,” he said.

More than 30 firefighters from three agencies are attempting to contain the blaze. photo supplied Metro Vancouver Regional District Emergency Response

At press time, there was no concern for evacuation and no structures at risk, according to Arnold-Smith.

A message from the Minnekhada Park Association called for greater stewardship of the park once the fire is extinguished.

“Minnekhada will need even more unified volunteer and staff love through stewardship, than ever before, once this fire is out – and one way or the other, we will be there for her,” the message stated.

Residents are asked to avoid the area.

Aside from one firefighter who suffered a rolled ankle, no injuries have been reported.


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