Saanich Fire are currently investigating three suspicious spot-fires in Saanich’s Panama Flats region that started Monday afternoon. Crews put out the fires, but continue to investigate them because of their nature.
Multiple suspicious spot fires…several fairly large, just extinguished in Panama Flats. Quick work by B Shift. pic.twitter.com/5TsJSeFhnZ
— Saanich Fire (@SaanichFire) July 16, 2018
The fires burnt in a wooden area between Interurban Road and Carey Road near trails used by pedestrians and cyclists.
Brock Henson, assistant deputy chief with the Saanich Fire Department, said the fires are suspicious, because of the distance between them and the general absence of wind that could have pushed embers from the first fire to the subsequent fires.
“They all seem to start roughly the same time,” he said. “That is why they are suspicious.”
When crews arrived on scene, they came across individuals in the park, whose information they collected as part of the investigation.
Henson could not say anything about the number of individuals in the park and their profiles.
“I cannot comment at this time,” he said. “I didn’t witness the individuals that were seen in the park by our members, but they will certainly pass the description of the people in the park on to Saanich Police,” he said.
Two engines, a ladder engine, and a rescue truck responded to the fire. Their presence closed down Interurban Road between Marigold Road and Wilkinson Road for an estimated half hour, if not longer, as crews put out the three fires.
Monday’s fires happened against the backdrop of high temperatures and dry conditions across the Greater Victoria region.
As a precaution, several members of the department remained on scene in case the fires flared up again.
Henson praised the quick response of crews in light of the conditions.
“B-shift did a great job,” he said. “They got here very, very, very quickly, upgraded the alarm, when they realized there were more than one spot fire, which means they asked for more trucks and resources to come, and once they got here, they got all three fires extinguished in very short order.”
This said, it could have been much more worse.
“Thankfully, there isn’t much wind today,” he said. “If it was [a more windy] afternoon, that might have made conditions a little bit more difficult, but thanks to those folks, who called the fires in, we are able to get here very quickly,” he said.