RCMP are currently investigating to determine whether a wildfire near the Scott Kenny Trail in Port Alberni last weekend was set accidentally or on purpose.
The Port Alberni Fire Department (PAFD) duty crew responded to a wildfire just before 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 11. The fire was located just off the Scott Kenny Trail, close to Chances RimRock Gaming Centre, said PAFD chief Mike Owens.
“We found a small wildfire that was kind of growing,” he said. “We were able to stretch out a line…and contained it to 150 feet by 50 feet.”
The crew remained on scene for more than two hours mopping up hot spots and fully extinguishing the fire.
Owens said the fire was “definitely human-caused” and the PAFD had enough cause for concern that the Port Alberni RCMP was called in to investigate whether the fire was started “maliciously” or as an accident.
Owens admitted that a wildfire on Easter weekend is “earlier than expected” for the PAFD.
“As climate change goes on, we’ve been seeing earlier and earlier fire seasons and going longer into the year,” he said. “This seems to be becoming the new normal.”
The PAFD is urging people to be careful while spending time outdoors.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C.-wide burning restrictions will be coming into effect later this week.
“Of course we want people to be out there enjoying this beautiful spring weather we’re having while maintaining social distancing,” said Owens.
“But we want people to be safe, and that includes being fire safe, as well.”