CN train investigated as potential cause of Kamloops-area wildfire

A 19 hectare wildfire that broke out east of Kamloops, B.C. on Sunday afternoon may have been caused by a CN train. Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service

A 19-hectare wildfire burning east of Kamloops, B.C. may have been caused by a passing CN train.

Witnesses tell Global News three areas near the train tracks started smoking about 50 yards apart after a train rolled by. About twenty minutes later, flames emerged.

READ MORE: Wildfire east of Kamloops “being held”: BC Wildfire Service

The B.C. Wildfire Service said 18 ground personnel were battling the fire on Monday, which is south of Hook Road and east of the Barnhartvale area of Kamloops.

Jonathan Abecassis with the Canadian National Railway (CN) says crews are co-operating with provincial officials investigating the grass fire.

Crews have been deployed to an area near Kamloops, the B.C. Wildfire Service announced on social media. Rick Niles

“Our thoughts are with the communities affected by this fire. As per our standard procedure after a fire has occurred near CN tracks, we are inspecting the track for damage and patrolling for hot spots,” he said in an email.

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Abecassis said the train travelled through the area two hours before the fire was reported.

READ MORE: Officials contend with early start to B.C. wildfire season

The train in question is undergoing a full inspection for mechanical issues and the crew is being interviewed.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says the fire is believed to be human-caused but it has not confirmed the train as the potential source.

The fire quickly grew given the hot and dry conditions, but the weather cooled off overnight and by Monday morning it was considered “being held.”

The wildfire did not threaten homes and no evacuation orders were issued.

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