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Whyte Lake Wildfire

Blaze Now Considered Under Control

A file photo of the Air Tractor 802 Fireboss, six of which were deployed at the Whyte Lake fire.

A human-caused wildfire that broke out yesterday around noon in the Whyte Lake area of Cypress Falls Park above Horseshoe Bay continued to smolder throughout the night, according to the BC Wildfire Service Coastal Fire Centre. West Vancouver Fire Rescue reported at 8:30 this morning that the fire is contained, and that no growth occurred overnight, thanks to the efforts of firefighters both on the ground and in the air.

Assisting West Vancouver Fire Rescue yesterday on the ground were firefighters from North Vancouver Fire Rescue and a BC Wildfire Service Team that flew in from Squamish.

In addition, air support came in the form of aircraft deployed from both Kamloops and Campbell River, along with two local helicopters. The Watershed spoke this evening with BC Wildfire Service Air Attack Officer Greg Adams, who oversaw communications from one of the small 'birddog' planes that was present at the fire scene yesterday.

Adams, speaking from Campbell River, said that when the fire was initially called in, two air tankers immediately deployed from Kamloops. These air tankers, RJ85 planes, are former passenger jets which have been converted with external tanks to carry fire retardant. They were accompanied by a smaller plane known as a 'birddog', which carries an Air Attack officer who directs operations and communications from the air. After releasing their initial loads, the RJ85s made several trips to the Abbotsford Air Tanker base to reload, in the end, deploying a total of five loads of retardant on the fire.

The air tankers were then supplemented by Adams and his crew from the Air Tanker base in Campbell River. Adams and a pilot flew over in a second small birddog along with six skimmers (in this case, the Air Tractor 802 Fireboss seen above) which delivered water scooped from Howe Sound onto the flames.

In the end, the fire burned across an area estimated to be slightly more than a hectare. While Drive BC cancelled their transportation incident this morning around 7:30, the northbound lane of Highway 99 remains closed, with traffic routed through Horseshoe Bay and along the old highway. Firefighters remain on the scene, and will be there until all hot spots are extinguished.

The Watershed will continue to follow this story, including an exclusive interview later this week with Air Attack Officer Greg Adams of the BC Wildfire Service. Got a comment or a question? You can reach us at

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