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

Lack of consultation on Chemainus Road corridor project irks business owners, residents

Surprise expressed over change to anticipated North Cowichan plans

Fuller Lake Beach remains closed

High bacteria count prevents people from being in the water during warm summer days

Wildlife photographer Boomer Jerritt will host Ladysmith lecture

Fresh off a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, Jerritt will speak on how climate change affects the arctic

Get ready for the 16th annual Ladysmith Show ‘n’ Shine

The show will feature cars from the past, as well as modern day marvels

Excavators help cute kid who copied their dig with his toys stay “safe at work”

Carson Carnegie wakes up at 7:00 am every morning to watch construction work on his street

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read