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Vancouver firefighters extinguish 'suspicious' blaze engulfing massive Stanley Park tree

The cause of the fire remains under investigation
Stanley Park Tree fire - Vancouver - Saturday June 12 - twitter screenshot
Vancouver fire crews were called to Stanley Park on Saturday morning, after a massive tree became engulfed in flames. The smoke rising from the site of the blaze caught the attention of Vancouver residents across the West End.
Vancouver firefighters on Saturday managed to extinguish a blaze that overtook a massive hollowed-out tree in Stanley Park. 

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Asst. Chief Brian Bertuzzi said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but is believed to be suspicious. 

Bertuzzi said crews were first alerted to smoke plumes rising from the park shortly after 9 a.m. on June 12 by residents in West End high-rises, port authority staff and float planes. 

It took firefighters more than 30 minutes to extinguish the flames. Though the location of the tree was challenging for crews to access, and required firefighters to run more than 300 metres (or around 1000 feet) of hose through Stanley Park's trail network. No other trees were affected. 

At the fire's peak, flames reached a height of approximately 18.3 metres (60 feet) up the inside of the hollow tree, Bertuzzi said. "It was quite the extensive fire." 

The affected tree is estimated to be between 3.6 to 4.3 metres (12 to 14 feet) in diameter, Bertuzzi said. "It was one of those ones where you could actually walk through the base of the tree, like a tunnel."

Park rangers assisted with the call, and remained on-site and equipped with hoses throughout the day to monitor the area. 

Bertuzzi said fires of this nature are not unusual in Vancouver's municipal parks. "For Stanley Park, we'll probably get maybe half a dozen [calls] a year, and it's pretty much right on schedule for it to be starting up about this time," he explained. 

"Parks right now are pretty quiet as far as fires are concerned, which is good. And hopefully it'll remain that way for the remainder of the summer."