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Crews battle wildfire near Lions Bay

FIRE crews battled a one-hectare blaze in the forest above Lions Bay on Sunday with three helicopters and a crew of 18 firefighters on the ground. A 20-person wildfire crew was still working on the fire on Monday on the steep site above Highway 99.

FIRE crews battled a one-hectare blaze in the forest above Lions Bay on Sunday with three helicopters and a crew of 18 firefighters on the ground.

A 20-person wildfire crew was still working on the fire on Monday on the steep site above Highway 99.

They have some smoke on the ground, said Marg Drysdale, a fire information officer at the provinces Coastal Fire Centre. Theyll make sure all the hot spots are out.

The fire is believed to have been human-caused, and is under investigation.

Members of the public first reported the wildfire after smelling smoke in the Village of Lions Bay on Saturday night and in the very early hours of Sunday morning.

But the blaze proved elusive at first.

We got reports all over the village they could smell smoke, said Andrew Oliver, fire chief of the Lions Bay Fire Department.

It has a bit of a sweet smell to it; we knew it wasnt a house.

It wasnt until he went down to the lower part of the village and looked back up at the mountain that Oliver was able to pinpoint the fire above Crystal Falls.

It was flaming up and pulling back and flaming up and pulling back, said Oliver. It was hard to determine how big it actually was.

The fire was about 500 metres away from the nearest homes, he said.

Luckily it was on a steep escarpment and across a creek.

If had it turned, it could have come down on them, he said. We got lucky with the weather.

Oliver said the Coastal Fire Centre is expected to send in a helicopter with infrared sensing to monitor for hot spots on Tuesday. A ground crew with an infrared monitor is expected to assist.

The fire goes underground, he said. Thats the problem.

Despite thousands and thousands of gallons of water dumped by the helicopters and some rain on Sunday evening the site was only moist, rather than damp, he said.

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