Fire snuffed in woods of Mount Douglas Park

Witness saw youth, who stole a jerry can, leaving Mount Douglas Park

A Saanich public works employee was johnny-on-the-spot in Mount Douglas Park just after 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, recognizing suspicious behaviour that led to the discovery of a small fire.

The Saanich staffer was readying to leave the Douglas Creek salmon restoration work site when he spotted a youth with a gasoline jerry can. He came across a fire on the creek bed where the youth had poured gas on rocks and twigs and ignited it.

As the youth ran away on foot, the employee, who wished to go unnamed, snuffed the fire but also called Saanich emergency services. Saanich Police and Saanich Fire responded, with the latter ensuring there was no further danger to the area.

“The suspect had taken a 20-litre jerry can of fuel from the Saanich municipal truck and was using that to light a fire,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie. “The incident is now under investigation.”

The Saanich employee described the suspect to Saanich Police as a 13 to 16 year old male, about 5-foot-7 and slender with brown hair, a blue t-shirt, blue jeans and a blue back pack.

Though the fire was small, estimated at about four inches in size by the staffer, it is highly concerning considering the province is in a state of emergency due to the raging wildfires of the interior, Leslie said.

“Obviously it’s very concerning behaviour in the middle of a dry spell, even more so because of the possible implications to that area,” Leslie said.

Darrell Wick, president of the Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society, said it’s just the latest fire in a rash of surprisingly irresponsible behaviour in the park. Most are done on the dry side of the creek bed, as they offer a remote location and plenty of fuel in terms of fallen branches.

“We have seen other [bonfires] in or near the creek where flying embers could easily start a serious fire,” Wick said. “Some of these fires appear to be in conjunction with evening group parties. They also leave a mess that park employees have to clean up.”

It appears that the partying and bonfires often go hand-in-hand, as garbage and empty alcohol cans and bottles are found near the make shift fire pits.

A few summers ago one of these fires was lit on the forest floor, Wick said. It’s believed the people who started it had put it out, but below the surface were embers that later reignited into a 15-metre-wide fire.

“The hope is that people walking through the park, especially in the evening, can keep their eyes open for suspicious behaviour and call the police right away,” Wick said.

If anyone has any information about the suspect please contact the Saanich Police non-emergency line at 250-475-4321.

Just Posted

RCMP ask for public assistance to determine the cause of the weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Victoria considers hiring more staff, less public engagement to get bike lanes built faster

An expedited installation of bike lanes could cost an extra $410,000

Victoria to lose $6 million in funding for new Crystal Pool

No extension for March 31 gas tax grant deadline

Langford barber shop donates cuts for veterans’ cause

Hair cuts raise funds for Wounded Warrior Run, which travels from Port Hardy to Victoria

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read