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Recent Ground fire on Mudge
I am sorry for the slow report to the community on the fire event on May 25th, 2016. Thank-you Harvey for sharing the post I made on the Mudge Facebook page through your e-mail service.
I am in the process of completing the official incident report for our M.I.C.S. records but wanted to give the island a breakdown of the events last Wednesday.
At approximately 12:35pm on Wednesday May 25th, 2016 I received a phone call from Colin Hendriks about a ground fire on Salal Dr, the portion on Salal that runs off to the right from the public well/pump at the South end of the island. Colin and Anna had arrived at a worksite to retreive some tools and noticed something not right next door, strange colour in the air and possibly smoke. Upon closer inspection they discovered a quickly growing ground fire advancing up the bank on the neighbouring property.
Upon receiving Colin’s call I immediately began the fan-out call out procedure that MICS has been working on for some time while heading for our emergency equipment. After my first few calls I left the remaining calling and notification to those who had been called after me.
Chad and I met at the fire trucks and proceeded to take the two fire trucks to the scene with Alex Hoffman close behind with the tanker truck. Once on scene it was quickly established that we had a major event on our hands and actions were taken to try and get ahead of this quickly growing fire.
Three water lines were quickly deployed and a flank attack on the fire was initiated. At this time the fire had reached the top of the bank and was igniting limbs 20-25’ high on the trees at the top of the bank with a house in imminent danger another 30’ back.
A large number of people had now shown up on site asking what could be done to help, the tanker had arrived and a group was set to transferring water from the tanker to a storage pool by the yellow fire truck. Chad was now able to coordinate with the BC Forest service by bringing them up to speed on our situation and making arrangements to meet an Initial Attack Crew that would be flown in by helicopter.
Once the first three water lines had worked to stop the advance of the fire an order was put out to move portable pumps to the beach and continue the attack from below as well as above. Helpers were sent to bring more equipment to the scene and soon we had three pumps set up on the beach fighting the fire from below. Some of the portable pumps on the beach were brought by responding neighbours and others were brought from the MICS property.
Now that the fire was contained and some areas completely out groups of volunteers were now able to get in with rakes, shovels and pulaski to dig out smouldering debris and look for hot spots. The small bush truck had now run through its tank of water and was sent to Davidson Bay for re-filling. The yellow truck was also now low on water and was now drawing water from the pool that the tanker had filled.
In total over 26 people showed up and helped in the fighting of this fire, the turnout from the island was exceptional and the group worked well together in a coordinated attack against this fire. Over 3000 gallons of water was deployed from the fire trucks and tankers and another 4-5000 gallons was delivered from the ocean by the portable pumps.
When the I.A. Crew from forest service arrived the fire was out and we were in mop-up mode with hot spots still being dug out. MICS equipment was on scene until approximately 3:30 pm when they were relieved by the Forest Service. Some hand tools were left for use by the forest service who remained on scene until 7:15pm to monitor the site looking for hot spots and to begin to investigate the cause of the fire.
All the equipment used was now inspected, refilled and cleaned to be ready to be returned to use right away.
If not for the quick thinking of Colin and Anna and the quick response by volunteers and MICS firefighting equipment I have no doubt in my mind that we would have lost one cabin and very likely many more and would have had a full blown forest fire on Mudge Island.
There are too many names to list and thank for their various efforts, but let it be known that the efforts put forward by this community were exceptional and it makes me proud to see the effort that was displayed.
All of our resources were tested and tasked and we worked very well as a group to prevent a much worse situation or outcome.
I would also like to the thank the B.C. Forest service for coming to our aid and relieving our volunteers for the final mop-up. It is my understanding that some form of an investigation into the fire is being conducted by the B.C Forest Service.
Good job Mudge Island you all deserve a pat on the back.
Scott Flemming, President of M.I.C.S.