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

7th annual Invermere Music Fest

A snapshot of the festival

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Need cash to splash

Radium Sunrise Rotary Club wants to build a splash park in Radium Hot Springs

Kootenay National Park about to turn 100

Ninety-nine years of publicly-accessible wilderness

Water bottling facility proposed in Canal Flats

Source of the Columbia Beverages Inc. promises jobs and financial investment into community

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Most Read