Train sparks brush fires

Lack of rain makes for for tinder dry conditions as brush fires become concern

  • Jul. 31, 2013 3:00 p.m.

Tinder brush was set alight by a passing freight train twice in a span of three days in Pitt Meadows.

The fires were sparked along the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks off Kennedy Road on Friday and Monday.

Assistant fire chief Rob Chatton said trains were stopped while firefighters put out the fires.

“We were operating in the vicinity of the tracks, so we get all train traffic to hold to ensure the safety of our firefighters,” he added.

Friday’s call about the brush fire came in at the same time as a house fire on the Katzie reserve, which meant Pitt Meadows volunteers were stretched thin.

The Maple Ridge Fire Department helped by sending a truck to battle the brush fire, while Pitt Meadows crews put out the fire on the reserve.

Metro Vancouver hasn’t seen a single drop of rain in the entire month of July and is set to break a 60-year record for the most consecutive days of sunshine by Wednesday.

Chatton said the sunny weather has elevated the fire risks across the South Coast.

Pitt Meadows has seen a rash of brush and bark mulch fires as a result.

Chatton asks residents to think twice before discarding cigarettes or doing something that could start a fire.

If you do see smoke or something that concerns you, call 911, he added.

“If it’s nothing, that’s great. But with early detection, we can jump on it really quick.”

Police continue to investigate what caused a car fire that ignited a large swath of brush on the Katzie First Nation last week. Investigators have determined the SUV that burned was stolen.

The man who was injured in the fire remains in critical condition in hospital.


House fire on Katzie

Fire damaged the bottom half a two-storey house on the Katzie First Nation reserve Friday.

The Pitt Meadows fire department received a call about the fire at noon.

Heavy smoke could be seen wafting from the home as crews arrived.

Assistant fire chief Rob Chatton said crews managed to get the fire under control in 20 minutes.

“We hit it hard as soon as we arrived to knock the fire down and then transitioned into an offensive attack.”

It took a few hours to ensure all the hot spots were out.

There were 18 firefighters and four trucks on scene. A crew from Maple Ridge was also called to help.

Two people were home at the time of the fire. Both inhaled smoke, but only one was taken to hospital.

Chatton said the fire started in a downstairs bedroom.

Ridge Meadows RCMP are investigating what caused the fire.


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