Dry conditions increase risk of North Oyster fire

A North Oyster fire that started in the early afternoon Wednesday, June 29, was brought under control shortly after 3:30 p.m.

A helicopter with bucket flies over fire fighters who were battling a blaze in North Oyster Wednesday.

Residents in the Doole Road area of North Oyster are breathing a sigh of relief after a fire that started in the early afternoon Wednesday, June 29, was brought under control shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Gord Wyndlow, whose house was closest to the blaze, helped contain it with an irrigation gun. “It didn’t make it to my neighbor’s house, didn’t make it to the (Stz’uminus) band land, didn’t make it to my house, all I lost was an excavator,” he said

With the hot dry conditions, things could have been much worse. “Look what happened in Fort McMurray,” said Greg Wyndlow, who has lived in the area since 1948. He said in all that time he’s never seen anything like Wednesday’s fire.

One witness said that at its height flames were shooting over the treetops.

Multiple fire departments responded to the blaze, including Cedar, North Oyster, Cranberry, Extension, Ladysmith and a pumper truck from Crofton.

“They did an excellent job, we sure to appreciate them,” said Greg Wyndlow. “This mutual aid is really great.

Recently there have been heightened concerns about the possibility of ‘interface fires’ in B.C. Low runoff and minimal precipitation this spring have led to fears that a small fire could easily get out of control.

In last week’s Chronicle Eric Meyer, superintendent of fire weather for the BC Wildfire Service said, “By the long weekend we could see some pretty volatile conditions.”

As well as the fire trucks a helicopter arrived on the scene, pouring bucket after bucket of water on the blaze.

Quick response in force is essential. “There’s no district big enough to handle it alone if a fire gets away from them,” Greg Wyndlow said.

The helicopter was drawing water from Michael Lake, but that’s already low, Greg Wyndlow said. He added that the fire was partly contained because some of the fields around it had been recently irrigated, which helped prevent if from spreading.

That and the efforts of firefighters and community members. “We were all making a concerted effort to make sure this didn’t get away from us,” Gord Wyndlow said