Wildfire on Sea to Sky Highway now 100% contained, cause still under investigation

The BC Wildfire Service says a wildfire burning near the Sea to Sky Highway south of Lions Bay is now 100 per cent contained and classified as “being held.”

Crews were called to the Strip Creek wildfire around 3 a.m. Sunday and on Monday it was measured as about three hectares in size.

No homes were immediately threatened by the fire, which was burning in cliffs above the highway.

Three firefighters with the BC Wildfire Service worked the fire overnight, and 29 personnel were on site Monday with aerial support.

The BC Wildfire Service said that lower temperatures and higher humidity were helping crews, but that work remained challenging due to steep slopes and rolling debris.

“It takes the fire behaviour down, it certainly helped them get to their containment and being held because they could work closer to the fire,” said Coastal Fire Centre fire information officer Donna MacPherson.

“We were pretty close to having to put a campfire prohibition in place today. The decision was made that we would hold off until after the long weekend based on the weather forecast.”

The northbound lane of Highway 99 remained closed on Monday, with northbound traffic rerouted to a southbound lane at Ansell Place, with one lane getting through in each direction.

Motorists were also advised to expect to see planes and helicopters active in the area.

MacPherson said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, though had previously suggested that it may have been caused by downed power lines, a possibility BC Hydro rejected.

“What we can say is at this point there’s no suggestion that BC Hydro equipment is responsible for starting that fire,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Geoff Hastings.

Hastings added that the Crown corporation constantly monitors its rights-of-way for possible hazards that could cause fires.

“We work with other agencies, we work with our own in-house team of meteorologists to assess fire risks and we also patrol the lines to ensure there’s no hazards that could disrupt the lines and possibly cause fires,” he said.

More than 70 BC hydro customers lost power due to the fire on Sunday, but by Monday morning it had been restored to most homes.

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