Port Alberni RCMP assist volunteer fire crews as they respond to a brush fire on Smith Road near McLean Mill National HIstoric Site. (PORT ALBERNI RCMP PHOTO)

Illegal fireworks the likely culprit in Smith Road fire, says RCMP

Blaze ignited at night near McLean Mill National Historic Site

A fire that ignited near McLean Mill National Historic Site last week was likely caused by illegal fireworks, say Port Alberni RCMP.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 the Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department, with assistance from Beaver Creek VFD and Port Alberni RCMP, responded to a brush fire by the train tracks in the 5600-block of Smith Road near McLean Mill.

The brush fire was fully extinguished after it had already scorched more than 60 metres of dry grass and brush. The wind and dry conditions moved the fire along quickly and caused the fire to move up into the trees on the east side of a clearcut area, with flames reaching up to 50 feet high at one point, according to RCMP.

“Luckily the winds were only moderate and firefighters managed to contain the fire relatively quickly. This fire could have been much worse. The fire had the potential for serious damage to a much larger area as well as the risk of injury to firefighters called out to extinguish it and save property,” a spokesperson said.

During the investigation into the cause of the fire, police located several expended fireworks casings nearby and it is believed the fireworks were the source of the fire.

Police want to remind the public that fireworks are banned and only permitted with a permit in town on Halloween, as per City of Port Alberni Bylaw No. 4819.

Anyone with any information on this fire or the lighting of fireworks in the area is asked to contact Cst. Lewis of the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictfireRCMP

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