UPDATE: Thetis brush fire burns nearly a hectare
This story has been altered from the original posting and contains new information.
A nearly one-hectare brush fire Tuesday in Thetis Lake Park is the latest in a series of West Shore fires to fall into the human-caused category.
"We found remnants of a campfire at the source," said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst.
Firefighters from his department and Colwood, assisted by a forest service helicopter and Capital Regional District parks staff, quickly and aggressively attacked the blaze and prevented it from burning out of control.
When crews arrived at the lake shortly before 1 p.m. there was a large column of smoke rising into the sky from the east side of Lower Thetis Lake. A swirling wind threatened to take the fire down toward Highland Road, but firefighters contained it using a multi-pronged, "textbook" approach, Colwood fire department assistant chief John Cassidy said hours later Monday from a still-evacuated main beach.
"In the fire service you don't really play catchup very well," he said, explaining the immediate decision to call out both fire departments. "You react fast and react efficiently with the appropriate equipment and manpower (because) catchup doesn't work that well."
Having the helicopter crew play a role by dropping large buckets of water on the affected area was a bonus, he said, given that the forest service was expecting lightning-caused fires to result from Tuesday's change in the weather.
The Thetis fire created no immediate danger to the public, Cassidy said, but firefighters warned anyone walking in the area about the blaze. Just before the first helicopter arrived, the main beach was cleared to allow for a landing spot and command site.