It took more than a dozen volunteer firefighters several hours to control a large grass fire on Horse Lake Road Sunday afternoon, believed to be caused by a resident burning brush on their property.
100 Mile House Fire-Rescue crews were called to the fast-spreading blaze, across from Uptown Plaza, just after 2 p.m. on Sunday. Horse Lake Road was closed in both directions for about two hours while firefighters worked to contain the fire.
“Crews responded to a fairly large grass fire in the afternoon,” chief Roger Hollander said Monday morning. “When they arrived they found a few hectares on fire at a property just off of Horse Lake Road.”
Hollander said the investigation is still in the early stages but confirmed that a property owner in the area had been burning and heavy winds likely contributed to the fire quickly spreading out of control.
Grass fires are quite common this time of year, Hollander said, as the brush underneath the melted snow can be very dry and easily ignited.
“Between now and when the grass starts to green is a very dangerous time to be burning,” he said, noting that any kind of burning on a windy day such as Sunday was “irresponsible and reckless.”
“In this particular case it was an extremely windy day, it was definitely not the time to be burning, even having a campfire.”
Hollander also pointed out that any burning within the District of 100 Mile House – including yard brush and campfires – requires a free permit to be approved by the fire department.
Permit applications can be found on the district website and are kept on file, he said.
“That gives us an ability to see who’s burning, then we can go to the property if needed and speak to the owners about controlled and safe burning practices,” Hollander said.
Property owners who don’t apply for a permit can be subject to fines, he added.
“If people are found that they’re being reckless and have a disregard for safety, we can speak to the municipality and certainly there can be fines as well as the costs associated with our paid, on-call wages and apparatuses,” he said.
In the case of Sunday’s fire, Hollander said that the investigation is just getting underway and it is too early to speculate on the outcome.
“Suppression is always the first goal and then the investigation takes place in the days that follow,” he said.