1. #1
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    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default This Would Have Been A Fun One

    I know this piece of road very well. Four lane, but very busy in summer time as it is the only north/south access to the remainder of the Island, including Malahat.

    Blaze closes Trans-Canada Highway in Thetis Lake area
    Matthew Gauk, Victoria Times Colonist. Published: Monday, July 16, 2007

    A 120-year-old fir tree, blackened and branchless but pouring smoke out the top, caused both an hour-long closure of southbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway yesterday and a headache for firefighters trying to put out a brush fire just off the highway.

    The Langford Fire Department was called out to the fire about 4 p.m. and View Royal Fire Rescue arrived shortly after to help out, as the roughly three-quarters-of-an-acre fire was right on the municipal border.

    "[The tree] was rotten in the centre and it managed to burn itself up through, so we didn't feel uncomfortable extinguishing from the exterior," said Lieut. Matt Thompson of View Royal Fire Rescue, after the tree was brought down to applause and back-slapping among the firefighters.

    The tree - with a diameter of about two metres - was felled by a crew from the Protection Branch of the B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range, who were flown in to remove the obstacle. They chainsawed the base of the tree and it fell sideways, parallel to the road, knocking down a few branches but otherwise causing little damage.

    The fire itself presented an uphill battle for the few dozen firefighters on scene as the wind kept the blaze moving. Because there were no hydrants or pipes available, tanker trucks were relayed to the highway to keep the water flowing. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control after about two-and-a-half hours.

    The two departments had enough people on scene to keep the fire from spreading to many other trees, although a few smaller ones were scorched. Once the major tree was brought down just after 7 p.m., fire crews sprayed foam into its uprooted trunk.

    On a brief tour of the site, Thompson pointed out that it occurred near an old trail to Mill Hill Regional Park and made a suggestion as to the cause.

    "We suspect there's been some people camping here," said Thompson, adding that the conditions were also quite dry. "[There is] a lot of trash lying about. ... There was all kinds of tarps and clothes."

    Highway traffic was rerouted via Spencer Road. But even after 20 minutes of one-lane traffic on the southbound side of the highway, traffic was still backed up well past Millstream Road, and Goldstream Avenue was slowed to a crawl.

    Photo credit:

    Ministry of Forest crew prepare to cut down a damaged tree following a grass fire that closed the southbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway near Thetis Lake yesterday. Bruce Stotesbury

    Victoria Times Colonist 200
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  2. #2
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    RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Heard about this on the radio yesterday as it was happening ... it was described at the time as a forest fire by the Costco, with 5 firetrucks on scene.
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