FILE – Category 2 and 3 open burning is permitted in B.C. but is based on various conditions. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

FILE – Category 2 and 3 open burning is permitted in B.C. but is based on various conditions. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Cache Creek man ordered to pay $500K for wildfire that sparked on his property

Brian Cecil Park was originally ordered to pay nearly $922,000 in 2017, but appealed

A Cache Creek man has been ordered to pay $500,000 to cover some of the costs of fighting a large wildfire sparked during a controlled burn on his property.

The B.C.’s Forest Appeals Commission determined that a 2012 fire near Pavilion Lake, west of Kamloops, was caused when Brian Cecil Parke failed to contain a controlled fire on his property.

Park was originally ordered to pay nearly $922,000 in 2017, which included $300,000 in hourly and overtime wages of fire crews, as well as $235,000 in helicopter fuel and flight costs. That amount was reduced earlier this month after Parke appealed.

According to the original ruling, Parke was burning a category 3 open fire, which is used to burn material in piles larger than two metres high and three metres wide. All open burns of this size must first be registered through the BC Wildfire Service.

The decision documents say that Parke left the fire before returning the next day to check on the burn. According to Prince George Fire Centre manager Les Husband, Parke failed to extinguish the fire, which was still smoldering.

READ ALSO: Unusually dry March leads to dozens of grass fires in B.C.

“In this case, Mr. Parke admitted that he did not have a machine guard down to mineral soil and also admitted that when he left the property the fire had not been extinguished but in fact was still smoldering in the middle,” Husband wrote in the original report.

“Best practice should have been to ensure the fire was completely extinguished.”

The burn sparked a 140-hectare wildfire, which was reported on May 12. It took the B.C. Wildfire Service roughly five weeks to contain.

If a fire escapes and results in a wildfire, the Wildfire Act dictates that fines can ranged from $100,000 to $1 million and the culprit may be sentenced to one year in prison.

But in his appeal, Parke argued that the province took too long, roughly three and a half years, to chase him for fire suppression costs.

The reduced sentence does not include a breakdown of costs that Parke will be covering.

BC Wildfire Service regulations state that all open burning, including campfires, should never be lit in strong wind conditions, must be fully extinguished before leaving the area, and be burned at a safe distance from nearby branches, wood and other combustible materials.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
COVID-19 case reported on Abbotsford-bound flight last week

Affected flight landed in Abbotsford on Nov. 16

The Abbotsford Pilots and all other junior teams in B.C. have been paused from competition after new restrictions put in place to battle the spread of COVID-19.
Abbotsford Pilots, PJHL grounded after new restrictions

Games won’t played until after Dec. 7 at the earliest, minor hockey limited to local competition

Last year’s Realtors Care Blanket Drive collected 192 bags of warm clothing and blankets for the Abbotsford-Mission area. The 2020 version is collecting only cash donations. (File photo)
Annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive adapts to pandemic

Campaign across the Fraser Valley asks only for cash donations in 2020

Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown on Sunday. (Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)
Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool scores 10th touchdown

First wide receiver since 1960 to record 10 touchdowns in 10 games, Steelers still unbeaten

Former BC Lion Angus Reid was the keynote speaker at the 10th annual National Philanthropy Day lunch in Abbotsford on Nov. 16.
Three awards presented at National Philanthropy Day lunch

Event in Abbotsford honours those who have made a difference

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read