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Metro Vancouver crews halt fire in North Shore Mountains

Metro Vancouver says it appears someone abandoned a campfire in the Lower Seymour.
Metro Fire web
Metro Vancouver crews deal with a small fire in the North Vancouver backcountry's Seymour River Valley, Sept. 12, 2022.

Metro Vancouver crews have doused a small fire burning in the North Shore Mountains.

Around 9 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 13), a hiker on the Seymour Valley Trailway spotted smoke and alerted Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve staff, according to Metro Vancouver.

It took about 30 minutes for the first crews to arrive at the site, about three kilometres up the trail and 350 metres up the slope.

The fire had grown to about 25 square metres at that point, said Mike Mayers, division manager of watershed operations and protection for Metro Vancouver.

“They found what they believe to be an escaped campfire. There was a tent there, and a few little personal items, and there was a bunch of tree roots and forest duff and ground cover on fire at the time,” he said.

Crews ran hoses to the site and connected them to a massive portable reservoir called a “pumpkin.” Talon Helicopters were called to provide help, but by noon, ground crews had the fire mostly out and firefighters were focused on keeping it that way.

“They're just slowly mopping it up. They're putting water on any of the hotspots and digging up any of the stuff that's still smouldering. They'll continue to monitor the site for the rest of the day, put water on it and then patrol it for the next few days to make sure there are no hotspots,” Mayers said.

There was no sign of owner of the tent, Mayers added.

Because of a lack of rain recently, much of the South Coast is at high fire danger rating. It means whoever lit the fire and abandoned the site was putting the entire forest at risk.

“Especially when we're into high and extreme fire danger, a fire can take off quite quickly. There's no smoking allowed. There are no campfires allowed. And we're just lucky that we got to it in the early morning, that somebody had spotted it,” Mayers said. “At this time, an open campfire, left unattended, could be quickly spreading up a steep mountain slope.”

Had the fire grown out of control, Metro would have alerted the Coastal Fire Centre and District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services to provide assistance.