Nanaimo firefighters douse brush fire near Third Street

NANAIMO – Fire inspector suspects fire started by unattended campfire.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue tackled its first substantial bush fire of the year Wednesday.

Allan Millbank, fire prevention officer, said the blaze behind the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Third Street was triggered by a campfire left unattended that got out of control shortly before 2 p.m. and burned an area about 35 by 20 metres in size before it was snuffed out.

It took firefighters about one hour to completely douse all the flames and hotspots.

“It’s really dry back there, actually, even though there’s swamp,” Millbank said. “All the grasses and sedges and things like that are dried out from over winter and the die-off from last year is still there, so if people have fires it will definitely burn.”

Millbank said people need to be aware of current conditions, which have already dried out tinder enough to allow landscape mulch to burn in several cases of small fires triggered by discarded cigarette butts.