When a field fire broke out at the top of Heger Crescent near Skutz Falls on Aug. 10, two neighbourhood youth seemed to know exactly what to do, and sprang into action.
Kyle and Nathanael Jamieson were working outside on their property with their parents when their neighbour Carla Boe called them to say there was a fire in a field across the road.
“A few minutes before she phoned, I heard screaming just up there,” said Kyle, pointing up the hill. “I didn’t know what it was so I just ignored it.”
However, when they realized what was happening, they quickly responded.
“We grabbed hoses and shovels and me and my brother rode [our bikes] over and started fighting the fire,” said Nathanael.
Both Boe and the boy’s mom, Annette, called 911, and though it did not take long for the fire department to show up, the boys say they had the fire mostly put out by the time fire department crews and a Forestry Wildfire Management helicopter were on the scene.
“If it were not for those people, it could have been a lot worse,” said deputy fire chief Bill Robertson. “They contained it quite well.”
“They just came in and soaked down the hot spots,” added Nathanael. “We put it out. Me, my mom, my dad, my brother; we all put it out.”
“The neighbour that caused the fire tried to put it out but she was just getting too close to the flames,” said Kyle.
The family says that the fire was started by the neighbour tossing a cigarette butt into the field, but no cause has been confirmed, according to the Lake Cowichan Fire Department.
The boys say an acre and a half burned, but no trees caught. “Otherwise we would have been fighting a forest fire,” said Nathanael.
Broom and other bushes along the edge of the field did get singed.
“Some of the fire actually went underneath it, and we couldn’t really tell, so we had to go through it to see where the fire was going,” said Nathanael.
“If we hadn’t wet [the grass] down in front of her house, the house would have caught on fire and a propane tank,” said Kyle.
The fire also came uncomfortably close to a cedar, creosote soaked barn, and threatened another neighbour’s property, coming approximately 50 feet from the property line and the neighbour’s house.
Annette says that changes in wind direction did help them out, as it first took the fire away from the propane tank, situated in a van, and then later changed again and helped to keep it away from the forest.
She is very proud of her son’s actions and the fact that they worked so hard to help put out the fire.
“Whatever I asked them to do, they did it,” she said, “I can’t pass up the opportunity to commend our two sons on their gallant efforts in extinguishing the fire at our neighbours.”
She has dubbed her sons the “Skutz Falls Volunteer Fire Department.”
Kyle, 14, says he is considering becoming a volunteer fire fighter when he gets older, and Robertson says that as long as he has the commitment it takes, Kyle should have no problem whatsoever.
The fire department was on the site for approximately four hours.