Spuzzum locals fight lightning-caused fire at nearby forest service road

After slow start, wildfire season began in Fraser Canyon with two fires igniting Friday, July 31

(Top, left) Locals from Spuzzum were first on the scene of a wildfire near the Spuzzum Creek Forest Service Road Friday, July 31. They began by digging a fire guard, before crews arrived (top, right). (Submitted/Jessica Poirier photo)

Spuzzum residents were the first to begin fighting a small wildfire in the area Friday, with fire crews coming on board to help quickly extinguish the fire as well as another burning near Boston Bar.

After a very slow start to the summer wildfire season, the two small fires flared up in the Fraser Canyon Friday and were quickly extinguished according to the BC Wildfire Service. Dorthe Jakobsen, fire information officer with the coastal fire centre which spans the B.C. coast up to Haida Gwaii and inland to E.C. Manning Provincial Park, said a lightning storm ignited a fire at Anderson Creek near Boston Bar and another along the Spuzzum Creek Forest Service Road.

Spuzzum resident Jessica Poirier said she, her husband Matthew Wielki and their neighbour Jean-Guy Prince were first on the scene of the Spuzzum area fire. She estimated the fire was around one kilometre up the road, then another quarter of a kilometre up a spur road.

Having been at Spuzzum Creek during the brief storm that ignited the fire, Poirier said they were able to call it in almost as soon as it began.

Arriving at the scene, Wielki didn’t hesitate to grab a small camping shovel and begin removing potential fuel from around the perimeter. Meanwhile, Poirier who was unable to go down to the fire as she was wearing flip flops, was on the phone with the wildfire service and Valley Helicopters, whose chopper was circling above and unwittingly whipping up flames.

Prince arrived with shovels and a few fire extinguisher pumps, commonly known as ‘piss cans’, and worked with Wielki to cut a fire line and pull away whatever could burn. Others arrived from Spuzzum First Nation with gear, at that point the wildfire fighters had also arrived. The neighbours helped to fill a large water tank for the firefighters.

“Everyone around here is prepared, somewhat, for some sort of fire,” Poirier said, especially after a forest fire near the community in 2018 grew to over 100 hectares.

“(Friday’s fire) was so close to where we are, that, if nobody showed up at least we made an effort to try and stop it,” she said. “It was pretty intense…it’s not very far up there and you can see the tower from the highway, so it was a little crazy.”

Crews worked on attacking both fires on Friday, with two attack crews initially involved and a third coming on later. The fires did not grow very much, Jakobsen said, with the Spuzzum Creek fire at 0.009 hectares (90 square metres) and the Anderson Creek fire at 0.09 hectares (900 square metres). Both were quickly extinguished and are now out she added.

Elsewhere in the region, crews are working on a fire off of the Sts’ailes Forest Service Road which was classed as ‘out of control’ by the wildfire service as of Tuesday. It had grown to 10 hectares Tuesday, from 1.5 hectares Monday and was being fought with water bombers and helicopters according to witnesses.

– With files from Adam Louis

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
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A helicopter lands near a small wildfire near the Spuzzum Creek Forest Service Road Friday, July 31. (Submitted/Jessica Poirier photo)

Two lightning-caused fires began, and were extinguished, in the Fraser Canyon Friday, July 31. Pictured is a fire up a spur road from the Spuzzum Creek Forest Service Road. (Submitted/Jessica Poirier photo)

Two lightning-caused fires began, and were extinguished, in the Fraser Canyon Friday, July 31. Pictured is a fire up a spur road from the Spuzzum Creek Forest Service Road. (Submitted/Jessica Poirier photo)

Locals from Spuzzum were first on the scene of a wildfire near the Spuzzum Creek Forest Service Road Friday, July 31. They began fighting the fire, making a fire guard around the perimeter, before wildfire fighters arrived. (Submitted/Jessica Poirier photo)

Crews from the BC Wildfire Service arrived Friday to help fight a fire locals had begun fighting Friday, July 31 near the Spuzzum Creek Forest Service Road. (Submitted/Jessica Poirier photo)

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