NEWS

Vancouver firefighters put out brush fire at Wreck Beach

07/24/2015 07:38 EDT | Updated 07/24/2016 05:59 EDT
Vancouver fire officials are investigating after a brush fire that ignited in the forest above Wreck Beach Thursday night.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue had several fire trucks and a fire boat on scene after 9 p.m.

Witnesses said the flames shot up quickly in the forest above the iconic clothing-optional beach on the west side of the University of British Columbia.

"I was watching the forest, the cliff, and instantly I saw 200-feet flame, bursting up into the air, like 'whoosh.' It [caught] on fire in two seconds," said Normand Auclair.

Firefighters used chainsaws to help access the flames and to clear out smouldering logs. 

"The members hit it aggressively with some 2.5-inch lines, knocking the fire down and preventing it from spreading throughout the area," said Vancouver Fire and Rescue acting battalion chief Bob Hollier.

Crews had the fire nearly out by 10 p.m., with just a few hot spots left in the brush.

"The forests are very dry right now and we didn't want to get this out of control. So we had a large response, a lot of water we were able to get on it quickly," said Hollier.

"It consumed approximately 100 by 200 feet of duff and some old growth trees."

UBC's largest tree — an ancient Douglas fir — nearly got caught in the fire, according to Vancouver's Big Trees, a group that keeps track of large trees in the Lower Mainland.

Officials said the wildfire appears to have been caused by a human. 

An investigator remained on the scene to pore over the area after firefighters finished.

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