Seasonal observations of an ever changing coastal landscape 
by Bold Bluff host Tamar Griggs 

Forest Fire in Sansum Narrows

Date: 9/4/02
Time: 10:48:28 AM
Remote Name:


Yesterday waw wild in Sansum Narrows! I had picked up guests for the Garden Cottage and was rounding Bold Bluff Point at 4:30 PM when we saw eerie, billowing smoke roll over the steep forested cliffs of Vancouver Island across the Narrows. Forest Fire. Wow! The sun was setting and the smoke was gold, orange and gray spreading a copper light over the sea and the scent of fire over the Narrows. A friend lives just by BC Hydro's grounding station on Vancouver Island (with no electricity or road access) and the fire was dangerously close to his house. I yelled from the water, "GREG! GREG! MARY!!!" and finally their dog came out to bark and Greg appeared completely oblivious to the fire that threatened to gobble up their home.

I flew home on my galloping horse (my boat) and reported the fire. They said a field and barn had caught on fire near Genoa Bay Road, and that it was "under control". Meanwhile Sansum Narrows was like a war zone with tracker planes and helicopters going "thump, thump, thump" and circling over the fire, spreading retardent and checking on the progress. I was reminded of Sept. 11th when all air traffic was cancelled for 3 days and the Narrows was unbelievably quiet! Now it was the noisiest I've ever heard it. Greg didn't want to leave his home, so I picked up Mary, his wife, in Maple Bay and brought her home.

We hiked up the steep cliffs to the sight of the fire about 7 PM. The forest was burning about 10 minute's hike from their home! Balls of fire rolled down the steep cliffs, and whole trees burnt and crackled. Smoke was everywhere. Out of the smoke appeared about 12 young men in hard hats with axes and pick axes. One had a bandana over his nose and mouth. They were going to be up all night watching the fire and trying tp prevent it from spreading. This morning, there still is smoke billowing over the cliffs across the Narrows, but it looks like it is under control. A few planes and a helicopter have checked it out. I'm on my way to hike out with Greg and Mary, to see the extent of the devasation. About 44 acres have burnt. They think it is human caused and will investigate further. This has been the second dryest summer on record in BC.

       Last changed: January 26, 2012