Grass fire on St. Mary Lake Road quickly contained

Residents believe cigarette tossed out of a vehicle started fire on St. Mary Lake Road

It’s a lot dryer out there than it looks. That’s the message from residents of the St. Mary Valley, who managed, with assistance from a contract crew from B.C. Hydro and later with help from the Southeast Fire Centre, to put out a potentially dangerous grass fire on Friday.

Resident Barry Garland, who lives about a mile and a half past the St. Mary’s River bridge says he got a call from neighbours about a grass fire in the ditch across from the bridge at about 1 p.m. Friday A contract crew working nearby for B.C. Hydro smelled smoke and were on the scene quickly, and as they carry some fire fighting equipment, were able to help contain it. Another neighbour got a pump and hose going. Southeast Fire Centre personnel showed up soon after, and the fire was contained.

But it could have been a lot worse, Garland says.

“It started in the ditch and went up into a few trees,” he said.

Garland says that as best as he and his neighbours can guess the fire was started by someone throwing a cigarette out a car window.

“That’s what we think. It’s not hot enough for it to have been started by a piece of glass and the sun.”

What Garland wants people to think about is that it is far dryer than one might guess.

“Right after the snow goes you might think there’s a lot of moisture in the ground, but there isn’t. It’s dry and the winds have been blowing. That dead grass is just dynamite. People need to be aware.”

Motorists are urged to extinguish cigarettes in their vehicles.

 

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