Around 1:00 pm on Tuesday, July 4th, Sooke Firefighters, the Capital Regional District (CRD) and Ministry of Forestry were called to the scene of a forest fire on Mt. Manuel Quimper. Mt. Manuel Quimper is part of the Sooke Hills Conservation Covenants co-held by Habitat Acquisition Trust and The Land Conservancy. These lands are owned by the CRD.
Thanks to fire suppression by Sooke Fire and Rescue, the fire never never reached a hectare in size. However, some of the trees were chain-sawed and pink fire-retardent covered the area. The fire was located around the Manzanita Trail, which is a Mountain Biking trail in the Mount Quimper area of the Sooke Hills Sea-to-Sea park.
This incident is a clear reminder of how flammable the ecosystems of our area are at this time of year, and to practice extreme fire caution when out and about. The fire's proximity to the existing trail and lack of lightning in the area at the time suggests that this fire is human caused. Open fires are currently banned across British Columbia, at the time of writing, and the province remains in a state of emergency due to wildlfires. We would also like to remind park visitors that CRD by-law prohibits smoking in public parks.
The fire at Mount Quimper impacted both a thickly forest area and aopen rock outrcop meadows, where the thick mossy layers will take a long time to recover. As a result of the fire, there are anumber of charred, dead trees left still standing. If visiting this area of the park, be aware of the possible danger presented by standing dead trees.
Thank you to everyone visiting this area responsibly and supporting your local land trust in the protection of your community's natural areas.
More on the Sooke Hills Conservation Covenants here.