Recent Whyte Lake fire sparked by embers from camp oven

A fire that burned three hectares of forest land near Whyte Lake in West Vancouver in August appears to have been started by a makeshift oven, possibly used by a person or people living in the bush.

According to a municipal report, fire investigators traced the likely cause of the fire to what appeared to be a man-made oven, created from rocks and “determined that’s probably where it started,” said fire Chief Randy Heath, of West Vancouver Fire and Rescue.

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“It is suspected that the fire was left unattended and embers that were windblown ignited the surrounding area,” according to the fire investigator’s report. The report noted the fire appeared to spread away from the structure in a pattern consistent with the direction of the wind on the night it was reported.

Firefighters got several 911 calls about a large wildfire near Horseshoe Bay on the night of Aug. 8.

The fire, which was about one hectare in size that night, grew to about three hectares before helicopter bucketing by Metro Vancouver wildfire crews began the next morning.

The fire this summer prompted the temporary closure of the Baden Powell Trail and the Black Mountain Trail.

Heath said firefighters never saw anyone in the area of the fire, but added there were signs of people having lived there in the past.

During fire season, parks staff monitor the area for people camping in the bush.

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