Creeping ground fire in Coquitlam watershed contained

photos supplied Metro Vancouver Emergency Services

Last week’s lightning storm led to a “creeping smoldering ground fire” in the Coquitlam watershed over the weekend.

While not extinguished, the fire has been contained, according to Metro Vancouver.

A helicopter crew doing aerial patrols over the watershed spotted smoke rising near Lighthall Creek a little after noon on Saturday, according to Metro Vancouver program manager of emergency management Brant Arnold-Smith.


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About an hour later, helicopter crews were dousing the blaze with “strategic bucketing” while firefighters on the ground cut trails to the fire.

At an elevation of about 1,100 metres, the fire was in “very remote and steep terrain,” Arnold-Smith said. However, firefighters eventually dug lines to make sure the blaze didn’t spread.

Low clouds made it impossible for a helicopter to fly in the area on Monday morning. However, firefighters were slated to trek to the site on Monday afternoon to ensure there was no danger.

“Mother Nature is also helping with a bit of rain,” Arnold-Smith said.

At its biggest, the fire was about 10 metres by 10 metres, he said. However, the ground fire didn’t produce any open flames, he added.

Located about 10 kilometres from the Coquitlam dam, the blaze didn’t pose any threat to the water supply, Arnold-Smith said.

“A fire in any of our watersheds is always a concern,” he said.

While the duration between Tuesday’s storm and Saturday’s fire might seem unusual, Arnold-Smith said lightning can cause a fire as long as a week after it strikes.

Because humidity, winds and topography can all play a role in causing a fire to spread, Metro Vancouver increases patrols after “any significant lightning storm,” Arnold-Smith said.

“Lightning does pose a major risk when it comes to the ongoing wildfire season,” he said, noting the dry conditions exacerbated by climate change.


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