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Saanich firefighters extinguish ‘suspicious’ brush fires in Panama Flats area

A fire bug could be responsible for several fires believed to be deliberately set in the Panama Flats area Monday afternoon. The Saanich Fire Department responded to a report of a brush fire about 3:15 p.m.
Saanich Fire Department
Saanich Fire Department at scene of brush fires in Panama Flats area.

A fire bug could be responsible for several fires believed to be deliberately set in the Panama Flats area Monday afternoon.

The Saanich Fire Department responded to a report of a brush fire about 3:15 p.m. and when firefighters arrived, they noticed two other spot fires near a pathway adjacent to Interurban Road between Edge Place and Panama Flats, said Saanich assistant deputy chief Brock Henson.

At the same time, the fire dispatch centre was receiving several 911 calls, so more firefighters were sent in. About 15 firefighters, two engines, one ladder truck, a rescue truck and a tanker truck were sent.

“They extinguished all three fires pretty quickly,” Henson said.

Two fires were about 12 metres by 15 metres wide and the smaller fire was about three metres square, Henson said.

The fires were about 100 metres apart and are considered suspicious.

“It’s a very serious matter, which is why we responded with so many resources so quickly,” Henson said.

He said a lack of wind helped keep the blaze from spreading quickly.

Henson said with the dry and hot conditions, people should be mindful of cigarette butts or anything that can cause a fire.

“It is very dry, it’s only going to get drier with this sustained hot weather in the forecast,” he said. “Any cigarette butt in this weather can cause a significant fire.”

Fire and police investigators are gathering evidence to determine who is responsible.

People who reported the fire along the trail remained on scene and were interviewed by investigators.

“There were people within the park when our crews arrived. Those individuals are being questioned with respect to what they may have seen,” Henson said.