Abandoned campfire in washing machine tub determined cause for Morgan Heights fire

Fire investigators have determined that the cause of the Morgan Heights fire was from an abandoned campfire.

On Oct. 18, at 2:06 pm Regional Emergency Services responded to reports of a fire in the wooded area west of McKinley Crescent.

Investigators were able to safely enter the area the following day to begin their investigation and determined that the fire perimeter had reached ten hectares in size.

The fire’s origin was found among several established campsites near a popular forest trail roughly 300 metres from the tree line.

A washing machine tub used as an improvised fire pit was determined to be the specific area of origin.

Investigators found remnants of a camping tent, poles, and other debris and garbage inside the improvised pit.

The makeshift fire pit burned into the duff layer (decomposing vegetative matter) roughly 1 metre underground, and eventually spread into a surface fire.

The careless decision to have an illegal campfire and abandon it has caused undue harm to almost every resident in Timberlea,said Regional Fire Chief Jody Butz.

“The steady smoke from this smoldering fire, and its continued impact on many could have been avoided. I am urging everyone to take responsibility for their actions in the backcountry, on the Birchwood Trails, and even in their own yards. We all have a role to play in preventing wildfires. You may think your fire is ‘extinguished enough’ and that winter and precipitation on the way will take care of it, but that simply is not the case. The impacts of leaving an illegal campfire unattended are significant. Please remember we are experiencing near-drought conditions, and wildfire hazard continues to be extreme.”

All information on the current status of the fire can be found at rmwb.ca/fireupdate

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