A late night fire Thursday destroyed three private cabins on Mount Washington, which were left to burn as the area does not have fire protection services.
One of the three units was occupied, but all occupants got out safely. The cabins were located on Foster’s Place.
Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said fire protection services is not a provincial requirement and is set up by local municipalities or regional districts.
“If so chosen to have fire suppression, (residents) have to buy it, train and pay for it,” he added.
In addition to the Mount Washington area, Bardonnex explained other less populated areas of the Valley do not have firefighting coverage, including the Forbidden Plateau area.
As long as there is no threat to human life, the Courtenay fire department, which is at least a 40-minute drive away, will not be called, he added.
In 2009, a fire destroyed a chalet on the mountain and Bardonnex said they received a page from the provincial emergency program under the task of a rescue.
As soon as they arrived on scene and found there was no threat to human life, “we turned the trucks around,” he noted.
Prior to the 2009 fire, in 2002, a petition was created for a vote on fire protection services for the area, which was voted down by property owners, explained Koreen Gurak, manager of communications for the Comox Valley Regional District.
Further discussions continued in 2009 and 2010, she noted, and a document was created on the future of fire protection services to the area in the Mount Washington integrated resort community plan.
Gurak added the CVRD will continue to work with strata councils and stakeholders in the area.