Fire breaks out near Forestdale Canyon

A fire broke out in the evening of June 24 beside a CN Rail line near a farm by Forestdale Canyon, west of Burns Lake.

It is believed sparks from the line started the fire.

The blaze started around 7 p.m. in the ditch beside the rail line and spread onto private property, a resident told Lakes District News. The high amount of dead undergrowth caused it to spread fast.

But CN stated that the fire started on property adjacent to the railway company’s land, spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis said. He added that he couldn’t comment on the fire’s cause as it was under investigation.

The blaze was estimated to be 0.2 hectares in size, said Carolyn Bartos, Fire Information Officer for the Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC).

A barn, a house and wooden fencing were at risk of catching fire.

Local residents spotted the blaze and thanks to their quick response, they immediately started pumping water from a nearby pond and using a fire hose to douse the flames.

Some neighbours used shovels and water cans from which they manually pumped water.

The passing of three trains on the railway line slowed down the residents’ progress, as the fire hose – connected to the pond on the other side of the tracks – had to be taken off the rail line each time a train went past.

When asked why the trains didn’t slow down or stop, Abecassis said the incident was under investigation.

About an hour later a CN worker arrived in a truck that had some water but it was depleted quickly. As to whether or not the amount of water in the truck was sufficient to fight a fire, the spokesperson said the incident was under investigation.

By 8 p.m. volunteers had managed to put the fire out except for some smouldering spots.

An initial attack crew from the Nadina Fire Zone of the BC Wildfire Service arrived and told the residents they could leave and that the crew would finish it. That crew was on location until 10 p.m., Bartos said, adding that firefighters returned on June 25 to do a final patrol and declare the fire out.

Bartos said it’s a railroad fire, the origin of which is traced back to railway activity conducted on the railroad line.

Abecassis said that CN had no further comment on the incident as CN was looking into it.

Two such fires have occurred in the NWFC this year, one of which was an instance of smouldering grass beside a CN line near Stellako in April. The Prince George Fire Centre believed sparks from the railway might have ignited the grass.

READ MORE: Fire services respond to two smoke incidents

CN’s fire response protocol varies depending on the fire, the spokesperson said.

The company makes compensation when it has found its operations caused a fire, but Abecassis did not elaborate.

“Safety is a core value at CN and we apply many different techniques to ensure safe operations during the summer months, taking into consideration the different factors of the areas where we operate both for prevention and the safe movement of goods,” he said.

If any emergencies, including fires, occur near the company’s lines the public can call the CN Police at 1800-465-9239.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

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

Just Posted

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

No fines issued in provincial parks over May longweekend

Activities restricted to day-use only

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Social distancing at the skatepark — kids style

Kids in the village have taken on board this season of social… Continue reading

Spirit Square reopened on June 1

Spirit Square was closed to the community in accordance with the public… Continue reading

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

Most Read