'It's alarming:' string of suspicious brush fires near Nanaimo raises concern

By Ian Holmes
March 29, 2019 - 4:56pm

Brush fires like this one near Nanaimo Lakes last summer have the potential to quickly grow.Submitted photo

The red dot indicates the site of a .60 ha brush person-caused fire discovered Thursday on private land.BC Wildfire Service

NANAIMO — Coastal Fire Centre officials are worried a fire bug could be active following the latest in a series of blazes on private land south of Nanaimo.

Fire information officer Donna MacPherson said crews knocked down a one-and-a-half acre fire discovered Thursday on private land off Nanaimo Lakes Rd.

“It was a burn that had been lit some time ago and then it re-ignited because we had warm and dry conditions. It's worth noting that this was not started by the land owner,” MacPherson said.

She said the person-caused fire happened in a slash pile on private land home to active forestry activity near Barsby Lake.

MacPherson said there were suspicious ignitions on the property in the past.

“The fire didn't spread beyond the pile, but the potential was there, especially as the season progresses.”

She stressed the small blaze was unrelated to the last summer's massive Nanaimo Lakes wildfire, which was also person-caused.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Government issued a precautionary message Friday for people to be careful while backyard burning as temperatures rise.

MacPherson recommended people avoid backyard burns if it's windy, referencing several recent grass fires on southern Vancouver Island. Backyard burning is banned within Nanaimo city limits.

She said anybody who witnesses illegal fire activity should report it to the 24/7 RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

The fire danger rating on the mid-island is currently listed as low.


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