Humans were to blame for several grass fires in and around the city, keeping fire crews busy on the weekend.
Fire chief Des Webster said members of the Williams Lake Fire Department (WLFD) were called to a grass fire at 1:24 p.m. Saturday along the Mackenzie connector where it is believed a downed power line near West Fraser’s property caused a fire.
After the connector fire was put out, crews also responded to several false commercial fire alarms before attending the largest and most threatening fire of the weekend; that being the late afternoon grass fire behind the golf course and Tolko’s Lakeview log yard.
“We don’t know what caused that fire,” said Webster, whose crews were able to get into the area through Tolko’s yard and extinguish the fast-moving blaze before it got into the nearby forests.
About three hours later, at about 9 p.m., WLFD crews responded to another fire call at Woodland Drive where three more grass fires had to be extinguished –– two along Woodland Drive in the ditch and one at the head of a trail leading to Chilcotin Road Elementary School.
Webster said the Woodland Drive fires are suspicious, noting the fire behind Tolko may have been set by sparks from dirt bikers riding along the well-used trails.
The WLFD also responded to two vehicle incidents as well as two more small fires Sunday.
Just south of town Sunday, the 150 Mile Fire Department was also kept busy.
Fire chief Stan McCarthy said he and around 20 crew members responded to a fire at Sugar Cane Reserve with four trucks, along with a pumper truck from the Miocene Fire Department.
Crews responded at 2:30 p.m. to two fires near the community gym where four homes were close by, as well as a larger grass fire later burning north toward the Pioneer Log Home site.
McCarthy said Sugar Cane has its own volunteer fire department, but right now is without a pumper truck.
“A new truck will arrive at the beginning of June,” he said. “The old one was from 1982 and died of old age.”
The 150 Mile Fire Department provides fire protection for structures at the reserve.
This week, weather permitting, fire crews will begin prescribed burns on private lands around the city.
Areas that will be covered in the next two weeks on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings include the water tower off of Gibbon Street, behind the Boitanio Mall, Stampede Grounds and the hill behind Williams Lake Secondary.