One of the first wildfires of the season occurred on Saturday afternoon, April 2, reports Karli Shaughnessy of the Southeast Fire Centre.
The fire started on the St Mary’s Reserve, near the north boundary, right beside LD Ranch Road just south of where it intersects with Olson Road, says resident Susan Bond, who lives in the area.
“It burned up the grass between the road and a small slough then spread into the trees and headed uphill toward a ridge. There was some candling on the ridge and it got pretty hot for a time, lots of smoke, but seemed to abate fairly quickly,” she said.
Shaughnessy says the fire grew to 37 hectares in size but was brought under control. Southeast Fire Centre personnel were still on the scene on Monday looking for any flare ups.
“The cause of the fire is under investigation,” she said. “It absolutely could be human caused. There was no lightning in the area.”
New regulations announced by the province have set new fines three times higher for fire infractions. For example, the fine for not complying with a fire restriction under the Wildfire Act has tripled from $345 to $1,150. Failing to properly extinguish a burning substance, such as a cigarette, will now cost an offender $575.
Rain forecast for this week should help out, but Shaughnessy says that warm conditions on the weekend did dry things out and the fire season is upon us.
“We ask people to be cautious when doing any outdoor burning. If you are doing large outdoor burning you must have a water source, hand tools, and enough people and equipment to assist if the fire gets away.
Burns over two metres by three metres require a burning registration numbers.