Seven youths were detained after a brush fire was deliberately set in Thetis Lake Regional Park on Wednesday night.
Fire crews were called to the park about 5 p.m. after smoke and flames were seen coming from the base of the Sunnyside cliffs. Because of the steep terrain, firefighters battled the blaze from a fire boat, said View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst.
Witnesses told firefighters they saw about seven young men lighting the fire and running.
A fire officer shared the description of the youth with West Shore RCMP, who detained a group just as they were boarding a B.C. Transit bus near Six Mile Road and Island Highway.
After questioning the young men, RCMP identified the person who lit the fire.
The youth told police he was “dared” to light a roll of toilet paper and throw it into the water. His throw fell short, causing the grass to catch fire, said West Shore RCMP spokesman Const. Alex Bérubé.
“His parents were contacted and alternative measures are being considered at this time as opposed to criminal charges,” Bérubé said.
Hurst called the youth’s actions “extremely dangerous and reckless,” noting that the fire danger in the area is rated as high.
“Not only did he endanger the visitors and the park, he put at risk the safety of fire crews given the difficult location of the fire,” he said. “Given current fire conditions, if not for a quick response, the outcome could have been much worse.”