Firefighters tackle a small grass fire behind Davison Orchards Saturday.

Firefighters tackle a small grass fire behind Davison Orchards Saturday.

Mischief sparks Vernon fires

A string of deliberate fire starts are keeping local firefighters busy.

A string of deliberate fire starts are keeping local firefighters busy.

A grass fire which broke out near Davison Road (behind Davison Orchards) Saturday around 5:30 p.m. may have been small but it was no accident.

“It was big enough to take 22 firefighters actioning the fire,” said Lawrie Skolrood, Vernon Fire Rescue deputy chief, as members of Vernon and Okanagan Landing were on scene.

Despite dry conditions and limited access, crews managed to contain the blaze and douse it in just under an hour – while avoiding the need for forestry crews to be called in.

“It had the potential but it didn’t get there,” said Skolrood.

RCMP attended and located two young people in the area, believed to have allegedly started the fire. No charges have been laid at this time.

Saturday’s grass fire was the second deliberate fire start that day.

Firefighters were called to a car fire around 4 a.m. Saturday at Alexis Park Church. The vehicle was being used as a demolition car by the church, but was lit on fire.

Firefighters also doused a second vehicle fire, although not believed to be deliberate, Sunday afternoon on O’Keefe Road.

The vehicle caught fire from a gas leak that was sparked when the owner started it.

These fires are just the latest in several fires that have broken out in recent weeks.

“It’s been really busy for the last three weeks,” said Skolrood.

While accidental fires can’t be avoided, there is considerable concern over human-caused blazes.

“This is very serious business,” said Skolrood, adding that those found responsible can be charged and held responsible for compensation.

There is also the potential for fire starts to cause injury and even death.

“It’s not something to fool with,” said Skolrood, noting several attempted fires started locally.

These days, firefighters are able to address fires sooner thanks to the advent of technology and public assistance.

“We’ve been very lucky with things like cell phones and cameras,” he said, adding that such devices also make it difficult for suspects to get away with mischief.