One North Okanagan neighbourhood is becoming all too familiar with suspicious fires breaking out in nearby hills.
In the last week and a half, Lumby, B.C.’s fire chief Tony Clayton said that there have been three fires in the Cedar Ridge area and all are being treated as suspicious.
The first was a week ago, Wednesday. At that time, fire crews arrived to a call and found a fire about a metre by metre in size, burning through the brush. Clayton said crews knocked down the blaze quickly despite dry conditions.
Then, eight days later, on Thursday, they were called back to the area at around 7 p.m. and found a 10 metre by 10 metre fire.
“Civilians were working on fire-guarding and extinguishing it and crews had it out within an hour,” Clayton said, adding that firefighters stayed there much later for mop up.
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While they were there, however, firefighters were told that another blaze had been sparked just 500 metres up from where the fire they’d been dealing with already was burning.
It was about a metre by metre in size and was knocked down pretty quickly as well.
All three fires are being treated as suspicious and are being added to the increasingly long list of suspicious fires started in the area, dating back to 2020.
Clayton said whether any or all of them are connected remains to be seen but whoever is of the mind that they should do such a thing, should stop.
“It’s dangerous. It’s still dry up here. If we get a fire with a good wind blowing it could spread quite rapidly,” he said.
Also, it’s taxing for the volunteer fire department, who work all day and, in this week’s case, find themselves staying up to knock back fires that were human-caused.
On a Facebook post noting the recent fire, comments indicated a weariness of what’s become an all too familiar sight.
In July 2021, the RCMP announced it was conducting an in-depth investigation into a series of suspicious fires in that area since August 2020.
At that point, the RCMP’s preliminary findings suggested the fires were deliberately set.