Cause of wildfire north of Horseshoe Bay is still under investigation

Firefighters were back battling a ground fire north of Horseshoe Bay Tuesday morning as the now-controlled blaze burned for a third day.

The wildfire ignited early Sunday morning off the Sea-to-Sky Highway near Strip Creek and stretched to 4.18 hectares. Emergency crews including 29 firefighters, five helicopters equipped with flame retardant and an air tanker loaded with ocean water worked to keep the flames from spreading on Sunday and Monday.

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The retardant and ocean water lessened the fire’s intensity and allowed crews to close in as they moved rocks, cut trees and dug down to mineral soil to extinguish the ground fire.

The blaze went from out of control to “100 per cent contained,” by Tuesday morning, according to B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Marg Drysdale.

“There’s no helicopters on that fire today. It’s going to be all ground work,” she said, explaining the cooler temperatures should help firefighters extinguish the blaze.

The steep slope and the distance from the highway both posed logistical challenges in dealing with the fire, according to B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Donna MacPherson.

Crews need to be tactically positioned along the cliff because of the risk of rolling debris, she said. Because of the distance from the highway and the lack of light, firefighters were also forced to suspend work overnight.

Due to the hazardous trees by the highway the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has opted to keep lanes on the Sea to Sky highway north of Horseshoe Bay closed for “several more days.”

Northbound traffic between Ansell Place and Ocean Point road will be diverted onto southbound lanes.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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