Crews from the BC Wildfire Service, RCMP and Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue remained on scene Wednesday to mop-up the wildfire and continue investigation into the cause. (Guy Bertrand photos)

Aggressive wildfire near Trail hospital suspected to be human-caused

The 9-1-1 came into Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue shortly after 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11

An aggressive wildfire that spread within 100 metres of the Trail hospital on Tuesday is suspected to be human-caused.

“The key, at this time, seems to be that the fire was not naturally caused,” said Regional Fire Chief Dan Derby Wednesday. “We brought in forestry (BC Wildfire Service) to assist with this because that is their area of expertise, and they’ve been on site helping us all morning.”

The emergency prompted a multi-agency effort that included an overhead attack by a fleet of airtankers and helicopters from the BC Wildfire Service in addition to regional and provincial ground crews.

“The McQuarrie Creek wildfire, estimated to be 1.6 hectares, is currently under control,” Carlee Kachman, from the BC Wildfire Service told the Trail Times Wednesday morning. “That means the fire has received sufficient suppression action to ensure that no further spread of this fire will occur.”

Kachman said two initial attack crews and a BC Wildfire investigator were on site to further action the area alongside a 10-person team from the Trail fire department.

“Currently, the cause is under investigation but suspected to be human-caused,” Kachman confirmed.

“There was no impact to the hospital. There’s a very large rocky fuel break, so again, the fire responded really well to the initial fire suppression efforts that were put in,” she added.

“And we have to definitely appreciate the Trail fire department’s quick response in how they reacted the fire and how they dealt with the fire, it was really wonderful.”

Related story here: Another Trail wildfire

Related story here: Sunningdale wildfire suspected to be human-caused

The 9-1-1 came into Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue just after 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Within minutes a regional crew arrived at the scene, which was located on the upper bench between Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and JL Crowe Secondary School.

Sixteen firefighters from Station 374 Trail and 12 from Station 372 Warfield stayed at the site until the fire was under control at approximately 11:30 p.m., reported Acting Captain Grant Tyson.

After monitoring the fire overnight, a regional crew was back on the hill by daylight to further action the area.

The BC Wildfire team was expected to remain at the site until the end of the day on Wednesday.

The case will subsequently be turned over to regional department as the fire was within its jurisdiction.

Also part of the coordinated emergency response were the City of Trail, regional environmental and emergency services, the BC Ambulance Service, police officers, and Interior Health.

During the height of firefighting efforts, the lone road to KBRH was shut down to all traffic.

Interior Health advised anyone requiring emergency services to go to the Castlegar hospital, which stayed open all night.

Access to the Trail hospital resumed after midnight.

“Traffic to the hospital will not be restricted, ” Sgt. Wicentowich advised early Wednesday. “But the RCMP ask the public to remain out of the area in order that the fire suppression team may operate at full capacity.”

Pedestrian and vehicle traffic was limited to JL Crowe high school with fire personnel and equipment staged on the road between the two sites.

Additionally, the city closed trails accessed from Sunningdale, Miral Heights and Raven’s Rock until further notice.

“Please remain out of the forested area near the fire and off the trails leading to the area of the fire,” Wicentowich added. “The RCMP will be monitoring the area for anyone who may be interfering with the fire suppression efforts.”

With very little rain in the region since June, local landscape is tinder dry.

Just last week, BC Conservation Officer Blair Thin told the Trail Times the service was regularly finding people lighting fires even though a ban has been in place for months.

(The service patrols fire zones from Arrow and Kootenay Lakes to the Boundary for the Southeast Fire Centre)

“For whatever reason people believe the fires they are having are safe fires,” he said. “It’s still fire season out there, the bush around us is burning, and it just takes a spark.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Crews at the staging site on hospital hill in Trail. (Guy Bertrand photo)

Just Posted

Wenatchee Wild earn split with Trail Smoke Eaters with shootout win

Trail Smoke Eaters open with 4-3 win, then fall 2-1 after nine-round shootout in Wenatchee,

Literacy Week coming to Trail: Make reading time, family time

Family Literacy Week in B.C. runs Jan. 26 to Feb. 2

The Voice of Raisin: A whiff down memory lane

The Trail Times is introducing a new column. Benjamin Howard recently moved… Continue reading

Rossland council okays temp shelter for local man

Garry Camozzi can stay in the trailer until October 2020

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read