Crews working to douse a brush fire that broke out early Wednesday (Sept. 5) near Porteau Cove shifted into mop-up mode on Thursday (Sept. 6) — but it might be a few days before Coastal Fire Centre officials will be able to declare it out.
A total of 26 firefighters and two helicopters were battling a brush fire that broke out a steep slope about 100 metres north of the cove on Wednesday, forcing the temporary closure of the CN Rail line. Highway 99 remained open to traffic.
On Thursday, a 20-person unit crew was on the scene doing “cold trailing” — combing the site looking for ground that might still be hot and smoking and turning over the soil on those sections of terrain, said Marg Drysdale, fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre.
The CN Rail line that was temporarily closed because of the fire was re-opened late Wednesday, Drysdale said. But it's likely that the fire won't be declared out for a few days.
“Once it looks like [the fire] is completely mopped up, they'll put it into patrol, where they'll return several times and do some more cold trailing,” she said.
“They might put it in patrol for a few days. Especially in this hot, dry weather, it might smoulder underground… so this will be an ongoing thing until they can declare it out.”
At no time was the fire a threat to homes or campsites despite its proximity to Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Drysdale said. It's believed that the fire started on Wednesday at around 3 a.m. and that it was human-caused. The precise cause is still under investigation, she said.
Meanwhile, District of Squamish officials issued an advisory in response to the extreme fire hazard rating in the area. While a fire ban has not yet been issued, fires are restricted to private property and supervised campsites. Fires may be no greater than .5 metres high and wide and under constant supervision, with a water source readily available.
“Hot, dry weather in combination with forecasted outflow winds and no rain expected in the short-term has resulted in extreme fire hazard conditions throughout the District of Squamish and the Coastal Fire Zone,” DOS officials said.
To see the entire advisory, visit www.squamish.ca. Separate restrictions apply in B.C. Parks and on Ministry of Forests land. For more information, contact Squamish Fire Rescue at (604) 898-9666.