Small fire near Chapman Lake discovered Sept 10th

Post updated on September 13

On September 10th a new wildfire was discovered 1.5km west of Chapman Lake, which is the main source of drinking water for the Lower Sunshine Coast. In recent days, the Clowhom Lake fire has shown no significant changes and is still 80 hectares in size.

You can follow the status of these two wildfires on the Wildfires Map of BC Wildfire Service (BCWS):

Chapman Lake Fire

This fire is burning in extremely steep terrain, and is described as a “smouldering ground fire”. According to a Coast Reporter article, as of 11:30am on September 13th, the fire is currently 0.1 hectare in size and “has shown no significant growth”. It has been determined by BC Wildfire Service as lightening/naturally caused.

On September 12th, one fire crew and one helicopter responded to the wildfire.

Given this fire is upstream from the primary drinking water source for the Sunshine Coast, conditions are being carefully monitored. Due to low lake water levels and the water consumption needs of the community, BC Wildfire Service will not be pulling water from the Chapman Lake reservoir for the fire suppression effort. They have also advised that that no foam or retardants are being used on the fire. 

Clowhom Lake Fire

On August 29, 2023, a fire was discovered near Clowhom Lake, approximately 32 km northeast of Sechelt. This fire is currently 80 hectares in size.

This fire does not currently pose a threat to infrastructure, and is classified as a backcountry fire according to BC Wildlife Service. It has been established as lightning/naturally caused.

It is being monitored; three firefighters and one helicopter are currently assigned to the fire.

Summer Drought on the Sunshine Coast

To understand how dry it’s been this summer, check out these two short videos to see the difference in water levels at Chapman Lake between June and September.

Water Levels in Chapman Lake

You may be aware that, as of September 12th, water levels at Chapman Lake are down to 8%. While this does require all of us to carefully conserve water, the Lower Sunshine Coast is not about to imminently run out of drinking water.

The SCRD identifies 100% lake level as high enough that water spills over the top of the dam at Chapman Lake. 0% is defined as water levels being so low that siphons have to be activated to draw down additional water. So 0% does not mean there is no water. It just means the siphons have to be activated.

What you Can Do

The SCCA encourages all Sunshine Coast residents and visitors to use water conservatively, and to be extremely mindful of fire bans and dry conditions.

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