A pair of small brush fires at Salt Spring’s Mouat Park Wednesday, Aug. 30 were likely human-caused, according to officials, who credited quick calls from the public with helping to keep both fires contained.
Neither fire grew particularly large before being extinguished by responding firefighters, according to Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue (SSIFR) Deputy Chief Dale Lundy, who said some fire crews had been at Portlock Park helping set up for a helicopter transport for a Lady Minto Hospital patient when they were paged out.
The initial call to respond to a brush fire on McPhillips Avenue was soon followed by reports of a second, also burning at Mouat Park. Sixteen firefighters and three apparatus responded in total, from both the fire hall and the helicopter staging area at Portlock, according to Lundy.
“As we responded to the second fire, we had reports from eyewitnesses about a person that seemed to be responsible for the fires,” said Lundy.
RCMP Cpl. Steve Davidson confirmed a Salt Spring detachment member had attended upon request from SSIFR, located and identified the person, and issued them a $575 violation ticket under the Wildfire Act for failure to extinguish a burning substance.
Lundy said after the two fires were thoroughly extinguished, SSIFR crews carefully walked through all the park trails to ensure other fires hadn’t been started.
“Fortunately it was all contained, and we were able to extinguish both,” said Lundy, who added that while the creek at Mouat Park was still dry, the moisture-rich foliage around the shaded walking trails were not as fire-prone as that on much of the island.
Despite some recent rain, forest fire danger level has crept back up to “high” on Salt Spring Island — and a burn ban remains in effect, prohibiting all burning, including burn barrels and campfires. Contravention of that ban can lead to a $1,150 fine under the Wildfire Act.
For more information on current fire conditions, visit saltspringfire.com.