A car that erupted in flames on the Katzie First Nation in Pitt Meadows sparked a brush fire Wednesday that nearly got out of control.
The Pitt Meadows Fire Department was called around 1 p.m. after someone spotted smoke wafting from a former landfill property off Wharf Street, near the Maple Ridge border.
Fire chief Don Jolley said when firefighters arrived at the vacant property near the Golden Ears Bridge they found a sports utility vehicle on fire and a number of other vehicles around it.
Police are investigating whether the ATVs and other abandoned cars were stolen.
A 33-year-old man was carried out of the brush by witnesses with serious burns but Jolley could not say how he was connected to the fire. Police could not confirm if the man was siphoning gasoline from the car when the fire ignited.
The man was rushed to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.
“We are in the beginning phases of this investigation. The man has been taken to hospital with very serious burns, and I’ve been advised his condition is listed as critical at this time,” said Cpl. Alanna Dunlop with Ridge Meadows RCMP.
“We have not determined what the victim was doing leading up to the fire, or the cause of the fire.
The fire spread quickly from the car to almost two acres of tinder-dry brush but firefighters managed to keep flames away from homes in a nearby subdivision, averting a potential disaster.
“The wind was in our favour,” said Jolley, adding that the wind pushed the fire towards the bridge away from houses.
“There was never any threat to the homes on Bonson’s Landing.”
The Pitt Meadows fire department used three trucks, including their wildland brush truck while the Maple Ridge fire department brought in three trucks, two engines and a tanker to battle the blaze. It took three hours to extinguish all the hot spots.
“We probably used over 15,000 gallons of water to fight the fire,” said Jolley. Since there are no fire hydrants in that part of the city water had to be trucked to the site.
There have been more than five brush fires in the past two weeks in Pitt Meadows.
Fire officials are asking residents to be cautious as several weeks of sunshine and dry weather have parched brush, increasing fire risks.
Anyone with information about the fire or victim is asked to call RCMP at 604-463-6251.
View Brush fire near the Katzie First Nation in a larger map