Passersby extinguished a brush fire in the North Shuswap on Aug. 11 which RCMP are classifying as deliberately set.
The fire was discovered about 7:30 p.m. off Lee Creek Drive in Lee Creek.
Passersby, who wish to remain unnamed, said they drove up the road and saw a vehicle stopped roadside that quickly drove away. They smelled fire and initially thought it was from another wildfire, except the sky was clear.
As they drove by, they spotted a fire in the forest, behind trees.
The witness said he jumped out of his vehicle and ran into the forest, where he found a cone-shaped structure made out of sticks with leaves piled under it.
He said flames were about knee-height and the fire was mostly burning where two logs crossed over each other.
“I grabbed the two logs and rifled them out. I stomped most of it out with my flip flops,” he said.
Fortunately, a neighbouring property owner was nearby watering the trees outside his home with a 50-foot hose, so he pulled it over and extinguished the flames completely.
The witness said he thinks the timing was extremely fortunate, because if they’d driven up sooner, they wouldn’t have seen the fire and if they’d been any later, it would have taken off in the dry terrain.
His suggestion is for people to be on the lookout for smoke. He added that if anyone smells smoke, be sure to check it out as it might not just be a distant wildfire.
He also said he wasn’t going to jump to conclusions about why the fire was there, but police have since said they are deeming the fire an act of arson.
Sgt. Barry Kennedy of the Chase RCMP detachment confirmed Aug. 12 that the fire appeared to have been deliberately set. He said the Scotch Creek Fire Department responded to the call.
Kennedy added police would like to hear from anyone who may have seen a white pickup truck with a rear chrome bumper and possible rails on top of the pickup box sides fleeing the area. He asked that anyone with information about the truck or the incident give Chase RCMP a call at 250-679-3221.
Kennedy said this is the first incident of this nature in the Chase area he’s heard of this wildfire season.
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