VIDEO: Quick-thinking drivers douse grass fire on Vancouver Island highway

Marie Beaton was driving along Hwy. 19 near Qualicum when she saw smoke billowing at Horne Lake exit

While the summer is shaping up to be the second worst wildfire season in B.C.’s history, most of the province is keeping a closer eye on their surroundings as hot and dry weather continues.

But video of several motorists putting out a grass fire in the middle of a Vancouver Island highway Friday evening, Aug. 4, shows just how quickly a blaze can break out.

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Marie Beaton was driving along Hwy. 19, north of Qualicum, when she saw smoke billowing just beyond the Horne Lake exit just after 6 p.m.

As she approached the scene she could see there was a grass fire on the meridian.

She pulled over, as did many other motorists. People exited their vehicles with water bottles, fire extinguishers and whatever they had handy and snuffed out the flames before the fire could develop into something more dangerous.

By the time a pumper truck from the nearby Bow Horn Bay Volunteer Fire Department arrived just minutes later, the fire appeared to be largely extinguished after covering an area of about three metres by seven metres.

Cars lined the sides of both the northbound and southbound lanes of the Inland Island Highway as the motorists poured individual water bottles, larger refillable jugs and, in at least one case, a cooler with presumably melted ice over the charred grass.

The fire drew a revolving cast of citizen firefighters, with newcomers pulling over and bringing more water to the median as those with empty bottles returned to their vehicles or stayed to stamp out hot spots with their shoes.

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Speculation is that the fire was started by a discarded cigarette, although this has not been confirmed.

Regardless, props go to everyone who stopped to help put out this fire.

Well done, Vancouver Island travellers!

— With files from Parksville Qualicum Beach News


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