Surrey firefighter tackling a large grass fire in seasons past. (Shane MacKichan file photo)

Firefighters tackle 20 grassfires in B.C. city in two days

Local firefighters fought 11 brush and grass fires in Surrey on Thursday and nine on Wednesday

Butt heads are still causing grass fires in Surrey.

Battalion Chief Spiro Pegios said local firefighters fought 11 brush and grass fires in Surrey on Thursday and nine on Wednesday.

“So that’s quite a bit,” he told the Now-Leader on Friday. “We’re definitely experiencing them, but we do have that proactive putting the signs up there if we attend a brush or boulevard-type fire, especially those ones, we put up a sign there letting people know we’ve been there and attended for that type of a reason and we’re trying to get the preventative measures going so they don’t reoccur.”

It was a year ago today, on July 27, 2017, that the Surrey fire department launched its Brush Fire Sign Campaign, noting then that between May 1 and July 26 of that year firefighters fought 256 brush and grass fires in this city. Jason Cairney, assistant chief of fire prevention for Surrey said at the time that the majority of these kinds of fires “are caused by carelessly discarded cigarettes.”

The signs are posted where a fire crew has tackled a brush or grass fire, as well as in high-traffic areas like medians and entrances to city park trails.

homelessphoto

One of Surrey’s signs from its Brush Fire Sign Campaign. (Photo: Surrey.ca)

Of all causes of these types of fires, says Pegios, motorists chucking cigarette butts out their windows is still “a big” one.

“That’s a big one, yeah. Big time,” he said.

“You know when people are driving and they just throw them out and it’s bark mulch, the garden boulevards. Those that throw them out, I’m not sure if sometimes they think it’s out or if they just throw it maliciously and not have any regard, but it’s sad. They just smoulder and stuff. Usually they don’t turn out to be a major issue.”

But sometimes, they do.

In 2015 a large grass fire that began as a controlled fire burned up to three acres of farm field in Cloverdale and spread close to a dog kennel but no people or animals were injured.

It happened in the 16200-block of Highway 10 and quickly spread in all directions because of wind. More than 20 Surrey firefighters tackled the blaze. Five full water tankers were called to the scene as there are no hydrants in the area.

And in 2011 a dune buggy accidentally threw a spark that started a huge grass fire in a Surrey field near the Nicomekl River that could be seen from as far away as Tsawwassen.

It took 15 firefighters about an hour to put out the five-acre fire, near 152nd Street and 37th Avenue.

In Delta, the Burns Bog fire of July 1996 looked like a mushroom cloud from a detonated nuclear bomb, gobbling up 170 hectares or 420 acres of forest and untold wildlife. It started when a smoker dropped a lit cigarette butt while walk along a bark mulch access road off of Highway 91.

The even bigger Burns Bog fire of September 2005, which destroyed 200 hectares, or 495 acres, of forest, is suspected to have been set off by a discarded cigarette or a spark from an all-terrain vehicle.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

DriveBC reminding travellers the area is an active wildfire zone and warning of fallen debris.

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeals court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

Firesmart program has homeowners ‘thinking like an ember’

RDCK offering free home assessments to protect homes from wildfires

Fire hall project questions

Questions for the ASC and the Town of Creston

Lost Dog fire 90 per cent contained

BC Wildfire Service is reporting this morning that the Lost Dog complex… Continue reading

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

East Kootenay fire victim honoured

Bradley Patrick Tipper remembered as gentle-hearted and generous

Lightning blamed for most recent regional fires

Southeast Fire Centre says 90 per cent of the 342 fires recently reported are lightning-caused

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Most Read