Sooke bush fires sparked by human error

Open fire ban along B.C. coast comes into effect today (Aug. 17).

  • Aug. 17, 2016 4:00 p.m.

Two bush fires in the Sooke region last week were likely sparked by people or by accident, prompting a warning from fire officials for residents to exercise caution and use common sense when out and about in wilderness areas.

“People need to be careful with their smoking materials, and when they’re out in the backcountry to be observant,” said interim Sooke fire chief Russ Cameron.

Today (Aug. 17), a campfire ban for almost all of Vancouver Island will go into effect due to dangerously dry conditions, the B.C. Wildfire Service announced Monday.

The campfire prohibition covers all B.C. parks, Crown and private lands within the coastal fire region, which includes the Island, and parts of the Lower Mainland.

On Sunday, a bush fire broke out in the Silver Spray area of East Sooke, 20 meters down an old private road, a little while after individuals left a campfire unchecked.

“They didn’t really bother to check if the fire was completely put out, they just left,” said East Sooke Fire Chief Roger Beck, who called in mutual aid from Sooke and Metchosin fire departments to bring the fire, which had grown at one point to a quarter acre, under control.

By Monday, the fire was still smoldering between rock cracks, which required continuous supervision, Beck said, adding in most bush fire cases of this kind, it’s almost always human-caused.

Regardless of human caused or not, it’s still important for the public to keep eyes peeled at all times, Cameron said.

“They’re our eyes and ears in the wilderness here, so early detection of any fire is paramount for us.”

“People should be calling us if they smell or see something that is unusual.”

Such was the case last Thursday, when a trail runner noticed smoke billowing in the Broom Hill area in Sooke and called 911.

Though relatively small in size – 100×30 feet, Cameron said the fire was hard to reach.

“We had to pull in a couple of thousand feet of hose at the edge of a rocky slope and a ravine. It was a small fire, just hard to get to,” he said.

Cameron said that the severity of fire risk largely depends on the time of year.

“Right now we’re geared up for the fire season, so we have to be cautious about things that occur in the woodlands and the weather patterns,” he said, adding his biggest concern is wild land fires for the next month.

Mind you, there are ways of getting people to listen.

Anyone found going against an open fire ban may be fined up to $1,150. If a fire caused by an individual escapes and results in a wildfire, they could face up to $1 million in fines and be sentenced to one year in prison.

To report a wildfire, please call 1-800-663-5555 or, if immediately life-threatening, 911.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Most Read