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Courtenay brushfire was human-caused

COURTENAY, B.C. – A brush fire in Courtenay was 100 percent human-caused. (dated lead)

Courtenay Fire Department deputy chief Kurt MacDonald said spontaneous combustion or lightning strikes didn’t cause the fire yesterday afternoon behind Trumpeter Crescent.

“By process of elimination, it’s definitely a human-caused fire,” MacDonald said.

He added that it’s very frustrating to have to deal with human-caused brush fires.

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“It’s something that we deal with and all of the apartments in B.C. are dealing with on a daily basis,” MacDonald said.

“You’ve got people either in the bush doing things that they’re not supposed to, playing with matches, or lighting off fireworks, smoking, careless with their cigarette butts. It’s really frustrating when you continually have to go to attend human-caused fires because they’re 100 percent preventable.”

MacDonald said flames were shooting six to eight feet high at one point.

Fire chief Don Bardonnex was first on scene and put the flames out with a fire extinguisher.

MacDonald said there were a number of logs burning, along with grass, and the fire was starting to climb up onto the trees. He estimated that the brush fire was 20 feet by 20 feet in size.

“But the chief knocked it down with a fire extinguisher and then the crew from Engine 11 came in and mopped it up with an attack line and some foam,” he said.

A quick call to the department helped the fire from getting worse.

“Giving any fire department the greatest chance to succeed is early detection and fortunately, somebody saw the fire while it was still small and we were able to get there quickly and knock it down,” he said. “But if it was two o’clock in the morning, you don’t have people driving by, the fire could have got larger, faster and been a bit more challenging to extinguish.”

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