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'I've never seen anything like this': Saanich firefighters aid wildfire fight


Crews responded to a brush fire in Thetis Lake Park Monday night -- knocking it down before it grew beyond one acre in size, leaving a mop-up job that was wrapped up Tuesday afternoon -- but not before the flames left nearby residents, like Deborah Danby, scared for their lives.

“That was one of the most terrifying nights of my life,” said Danby on Tuesday. “My family were trapped on the other side of the park -- we had our bikes out, we were ready to ride out on one of the trails out back there.”

In the Okanagan -- where teams from across the province, including municipal firefighters from Vancouver Island have been battling brutal flames -- officials confirmed around 200 homes in the region were damaged or destroyed.

A team of four municipal firefighters from Saanich have been helping protect homes in the West Kelowna area since last Friday, arriving when conditions were at their worst.

“It was basically an inferno and we were triaging houses when we went in,” said Platoon Captain Aaron Charlton, one of the members of the Saanich team. “Some were maybe too far gone, and we moved on to the next one -- so one would be gone and we could save five after protecting exposures from that one that might have been engulfed in flames,” said Charlton.

Despite the obvious heartbreak, no lives were lost, and the combined efforts of wildfire and structure firefighters is credited with preserving thousands of homes.

“I’ve never seen anything like this - -and even talking to firefighters across the province – we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Charlton.

Meanwhile, View Royal fire department confirmed Wednesday that the brush fire in Thetis Lake Park was out, but a team from the CRD was patrolling the area to ensure nothing reignited. Top Stories

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