Canadian Firefighter Magazine

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Uncontrolled slash fire prompts evacuations near Squamish, B.C.

April 16, 2020
By The Canadian Press

April 16, 2020, Squamish, B.C. – An out of control fire was threatening homes, a campground and BC Hydro infrastructure Wednesday night north of Squamish, British Columbia.

Coastal Fire Centre spokeswoman Donna MacPherson said the fire is just over half a square kilometre in size and has cut off access to the main road into the small community of Brakendale.

The slash fire was first reported around 4:15 p.m. and prompted local evacuations.

MacPherson said it was a “very aggressive fire” aided by wind and the slope of the land, and is suspected to be human-caused.

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“Fires have a tendency to move uphill faster than they do on flat lands,” she said.

Fire crews helped RCMP to evacuate Squamish Valley campgrounds and six homes were near the fire.

An RCMP spokeswoman said members of the Cheekeye neighbourhood were on evacuation notice and people around Paradise Valley were told to be ready to leave.

Sgt. Sascha Banks said the Executive Suites Hotel & Resort in Squamish was taking on evacuees.

The COVID-19 pandemic complicates the situation, but the main priority is getting everyone out of the fire’s way safely, she said.

The BC Wildfire Service had 22 firefighters and three helicopters working the blaze before dusk.

A crew of more than a dozen people were to stay overnight, MacPherson said.