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.

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

Just Posted

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at a fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. Mowi Canada has applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out salmon farming in the Discovery Islands by June, 2022. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
Major B.C. salmon farms seeks court intervention in Discovery Islands ban

Fisheries minister is phasing out operations in the area by June 2022

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. on Oct. 31, 2018. Several Vancouver Island mayors and members of British Columbia’s salmon farming industry say a federal decision to phase out fish farming has left them feeling “disposable and discarded.” In a letter to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, they say they weren’t consulted before she announced a plan to phase out open-net pen fish farming in the Discovery Islands over the next 18 months. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward
Strathcona Regional District pens letter to Trudeau about fish farm closure

Minister Jordan, MLA Babchuk and MP Blaney also included in letter

Telus representative Doug Anastos (top left) and SitePath Consulting Ltd.’s consultant Brian Gregg (top right) present to the SRD board, including CAO David Leitch (bottom left) and Cortes Island director Noba Anderson, on Jan. 13, 2021. Photo courtesy SRD/Youtube
Improved wireless connection for Quadra, Cortes pitched to SRD

Idea includes new towers at various locations on islands

Eva Xu (left) and Joanne Moon (right) presents Campbell River Hospital Foundation executive director Stacey Marsh (centre) with a $1,476 cheque to go towards the new mammography machine at the hospital. Photo supplied by Campbell River Hospital Foundation.
Gourmet Essentials donates nearly $1,500 to Hospital Foundation

Machine will cut wait times for mammogram results

Campbell River celebrates Family Literacy Week Jan. 24 to Jan. 30. Photo contributed
Downtown and city parks scavenger hunts lets you and the kids get out of the house

Campbell River celebrates Family Literacy Week themes of Travel the World and Let’s Be Active

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The RCMP are reminding drivers to find alternative ways home if they have consumed anything that impairs their ability to drive. (Black Press file photo)
Impaired Island driver flees road check twice on the same night

The officer issued the driver numerous violation tickets, and a four-month driving suspension

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Most Read