Comox fire chief worried about teens setting blazes

It's a trend Comox Fire Chief Gord Schreiner wishes would vanish, but given the dry weather, he hopes it's a trend that won't worsen.

It’s a trend Comox Fire Chief Gord Schreiner wishes would go away, but given the dry weather this July, he hopes it’s a trend that won’t get worse.

Schreiner said a few times a week, groups of 50 to 75 teens between 13 and 16 years old are gathering in the dry, backwoods of Comox lighting illegal fires.

“It’s generally in the sand pits area around Pritchard Road. They throw pallets to burn thinking the fire won’t expand because it’s in the sand. All it takes is for one spark to hit the dry grass and broom,” he explained.

Schreiner added the teens also bring alcohol and he believes they might be purchasing the pallets from local businesses.

“We really want to get the message out — even to business who might not realize their pallets are fuelling these fires.”

He encourages parents to ask their children what their plans are at night when they leave the house, and be extra diligent when they explain where they might be going.

He added even though the callouts the fire department have received have been for fires left smouldering, he warns the fires can pose significant threats to nearby homes, property and people.

“On Sunday around 6:30 a.m., we got a call to put out a fire which had been burning all night,” he explained. “We get a lot of calls from neighbours and we’re hoping to work closer with the RCMP.”

Some of the fires with up to groups of 70 teens have around 150 pounds of wood burning, with sparks rising 50 feet in the air, added Schreiner.

“They show up with nothing to slow the fire down.”

Schreiner said people caught both lighting the fires or drinking alcohol in public can face fines from the police.

“There’s also a huge liability with these fires, especially if they get out of control. With social networks the way they are these days, it’s not too hard to find out who was there.”

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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

Just Posted

Two vehicles collided Wednesday morning north of Courtenay on the Old Island Highway. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Two-car MVA north of Courtenay

Accident took place after 7 a.m. on the Old Island Highway

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Comox Valley COVID spike the result of ‘a series of multiple social gatherings’

North Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns says the recent spike… Continue reading

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

A 19-year-old man is in police custody following a recent violent robbery and assault in Comox . (File photo)
Arrest made in violent robbery and assault of Comox gas station employee

A 19-year old man is in police custody following a recent violent… Continue reading

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Fisheries and Oceans Canada fish-health audit at a farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The BC Salmon Farmers Association is asking Ottawa for renewed discussions with stakeholders and First Nations to allow for an equitable agreement on the government-ordered departure from the Discovery Islands. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
B.C. salmon farmers request more time to leave Discovery Islands

DFO’s current deadline will lead to the cull of 10.7-million young fish

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Average response times for critical “purple” and “red” calls were between nine and 10 minutes Feb. 19 in Metro Vancouver, with only less critical “yellow” calls receiving an average response time of 45 minutes. The longer than usual delay was due to a combination of factors, BC Emergency Health Services said. (APBC image)
After a night of one-hour waits for ambulances, union goes public with concerns

B.C. Ambulance Service says high-priority calls were still 10 minutes or less

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)
B.C. teen in turtleneck, lace-edged dress sent home from school for ‘inappropriate’ outfit

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress

Seagulls and other marine birds packed the shoreline at Kye Bay in March (2020), as the herring roe provided a feast for the feathered community. Photo by Terry Farrell
MARS Moment: Herring spawn to produce increased marine life activity near shoreline

Jane Thomson Special to Black Press Wild times are coming to a… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

The 2021 YANA Big Love Benefit will be a live-streamed event, including an online auction. Photo by McKinnon Photography
COVID restrictions force changes to YANA Big Love Benefit

Ongoing provincially-imposed COVID-19 restrictions have forced a late change in YANA’s largest… Continue reading

Most Read