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.

Just Posted

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Man known to police fled an allegedly stolen vehicle and firearm on the reserve north of Chilliwack

Public hearing Monday for huge development near downtown

A 599-unit development has been proposed for a large site just north of the historic downtown

Golf tournament raises $74,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Money goes toward mentorship programs for 500 Fraser Valley children

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Volunteers pulling out all the stop to try to find Grace Baranyk, 86

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Missing Vancouver Island woman believed to be on mainland

Rhonda Stevenson, 43, last seen July 13 in central Nanaimo

Missing Greater Victoria man last seen in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Jonah Donato, 40, travelled to the mainland in June

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Most Read