The Thornhill Fire Department responded to a grassfire on Creek Avenue in Jackpine Flats on May 8. (Contributed Photo)

Fire crews beat down grass fire in Jackpine Flats

Four-hour, category-2 blaze triggered by waste burning prior to fire ban

The Thornhill Fire Department is reminding the public to be careful with drier weather conditions, following a grass fire at Jackpine Flats on May 8.

At approximately 1 p.m., the Thornhill Fire Department responded to a Category 2 fire on Creek Avenue, fighting flames until 5 p.m. There were no reports of injuries or structures damaged.

According to Thornhill fire chief Rick Boehm, the property owner was burning trees over the weekend before the burning prohibition went into effect, but did not properly extinguish the fire. As temperatures increased, heat trapped in the ground flared up and started the holdover fire that rapidly grew to 100 feet by 50 feet.

“[It’s important to] understand current burning regulations and just be absolutely diligent at not leaving fires unattended and properly extinguished,” says Boehm. “We extinguished it, but had multiple piles that were inadequately extinguished and caused the event.”

READ MORE: Northwest Fire Centre burn ban starts Monday

BC Wildfire Service also attended the scene and is investigating the fire.

Boehm says everyone should be more aware as forested areas around the region are currently very dry and fires can be sparked easily.

“We hope for the best, prepare for the worst. So every day that it’s warm and dry, it just increases that elevated awareness… until we get any significant precipitation,” he says. “If there’s any indication that there is smoke or fire or anything resembling that… it’s better to report it.”

Dry conditions are already taking their toll across the Northwest. A state of emergency and evacuation was declared east of Fraser Lake following a 100-hectare fire on May 11. And on May 12, emergency crews battled a four-hectare wildfire near Kitimat.

Both are suspected to have been caused by humans.

READ MORE: City considers changes to its burn bylaw

As of May 6, the Northwest Fire Centre burn ban is in effect for the Nadina, Bulkley and Skeena fire zones. If the violation causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

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