Overnight grass fire in Vernon thought to have been started by fireworks

Click to play video: 'Fireworks spark grass fire near Coldstrean homes' Fireworks spark grass fire near Coldstrean homes
The Vernon fire department is issuing a warning about fire safety after fireworks sparked a grass fire dangerously close to some Coldstream homes – Aug 3, 2019

An overnight grass fire in Vernon that grew to the approximate size of a football field, but was quickly extinguished, is believed to have been sparked by fireworks.

According to the City of Vernon, loud bangs were reported in the area of Kalamalka Lakeview Drive at approximately 2:20 a.m. on Saturday.

Members of Vernon Fire Rescue Services (VFRS), the Coldstream Fire Department and RCMP responded and found a series of small spot fires burning in an area below Kalamalka Lakeview Drive Lookout, adjacent to several residential properties.

Firefighters from Vernon and Coldstream extinguished this overnight grass fire, early Saturday. Submitted

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“This fire occurred within the City of Vernon,” said VFRS captain Dean Wakefield. “However, the initial 911 calls did not provide the exact location, so both Vernon and Coldstream Fire Departments were dispatched at the same time.”

Wakefield noted that police and BC Wildfire Services were also on scene.

He noted that moderate fire conditions and calm winds helped Vernon and Coldstream firefighters battle the blaze, which was fully extinguished at 4:48 a.m.

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Combined, the spot fires covered an area approximately the size of a football field, Wakefield said, adding that no loss of property or evacuations occurred. Around 18 firefighters were on scene.

VFRS said there was evidence of small-caliber fireworks being set off in the vicinity, and called it a careless act. VFRS said police are investigating the incident.

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“I want to remind those responsible that you place others at risk with this type of behaviour,” said Vernon fire chief David Lind.

“A person may face significant fines, penalties and even jail time should their actions be found to have contributed to a loss of life or property. Someone found to have caused a fire such as this can be held responsible for the full cost of extinguishing the fire.”

If you have any information regarding this incident, you are asked to call the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP at 250-545-7171 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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