B.C. wildfire sparked by army gunfire

B.C. wildfire sparked by army gunfire

23 April 2010

published by www.cbc.ca

Canada —    The biggest wildfire in B.C. so far this season was sparked by the Canadian military.

The 212-hectare fire southwest of Williams Lake is still smouldering, but officials have declared it under control.

“This is the largest [fire] to date,” said Rob Bardossy, senior protection officer with the Cariboo Fire Centre. “It appears the fire resulted from some of the exercises and manoeuvres [the Canadian military] were doing out there.”

The Department of National Defence owns property near Riske Creek that it uses for military purposes, Bardossy said.

Units from the 39th Canadian Brigade Group were doing weapons training Friday.

A machine-gun round lit a small grass fire that rapidly got out of control, according to Canadian Armed Forces spokesman, Lt.-Col. John Feller.

“Every fifth round has what we call a tracer element in it, which is a small incendiary device which allows you to track where a round of ammunition is going,” said Feller. “One of these rounds set off some fire in a grassed area.”

There have been 115 fires across the province so far this year, compared to 95 at this time in 2009.

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