Spatsum Creek Fire starter sought

The Conservation Officer Service is looking for information about who caused the 1400 hectare Spatsum Creek wildfire.

  • Jul. 17, 2013 3:00 p.m.

The Conservation Officer Service is taking tips in its quest to find the person or people responsible for the Spatsum Creek wildfire near Ashcroft that started in April.

Investigators have determined the fire started on April 27 between 1 and 1:15 p.m. by a person, but are unsure if it was accidental or purposely set.

“There were no natural causes that could’ve sparked this fire (lightning or natural spontaneous combustion) so that’s why investigators have come to the conclusion it was a person-caused fire,” said Melissa Welsh, a fire information officer for the Kamloops Fire Centre’s Wildfire Management Branch (WMB).

At its biggest, the fire burned more than 1,400 hectares – or 14 square kilometres. Well over 100 firefighters battled the blaze, and it is still “in control,” meaning crews are still on the ground monitoring the area, said Welsh.

“I think that this fire will be in control for a while,” she said. “With the hot temperatures, if there are any hot spots that crews haven’t been able to access – it was pretty steep terrain that they were dealing with – or if we get into high temperatures throughout the summer and there’s something burning underground, it can re-ignite.”

Welsh said the fire danger rating in the area is moderate, but is expected to climb to high over the next few weeks with dry conditions and high temperatures.

The WMB recommends reducing the risk of causing a wildfire by avoiding campfires in windy conditions, maintaining a one-metre fireguard (fuel-free area without flammable materials) around the campfire and making sure fires are completely extinguished and ashes cold to the touch before leaving.

Anyone with information about the fire can contact the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s 24-hour tip line and make an anonymous report at 1-877-952-7277.