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.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Police investigating incident in Saanich neighbourhood

Neighbours tell Black Press Media that a body has been found, but police remain tight-lipped.

Colwood man takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer for 11th year in a row

Team Finn has raised almost $3 million for BC Cancer Foundation

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read