British Columbia

Grouse Mountain forest fire caused by 'carelessly' discarded cigarette or match

Fire officials say a late-night forest fire at the base of Grouse Mountain last weekend was likely sparked by a 'carelessly' discarded cigarette or a match.

Fire erupted overnight between June 5 and 6 near the Grouse Grind hiking trail and spread quickly

Officials say a forest fire near the base of Grouse Mountain spread to an area of about 225 square metres before it was extinguished. The photo above shows the charred aftermath. (North Vancouver RCMP)

Fire officials say a late-night forest fire at the base of Grouse Mountain last weekend was likely sparked by a 'carelessly' discarded cigarette or a match.

The fire broke out sometime late Friday, June 5, or early Saturday, June 6, about 150 metres above a parking lot used by Grouse Grind hikers. By the time North Vancouver District firefighters were able to respond, flames as high as six metres had already spread to an area of about 225 square metres.

Investigators say the area where the fire occurred had recently been cleared. RCMP suspect someone wandered into the clearing and sat down on a tree stump to take in the views, before discarding a lit cigarette or match onto the dry forest floor, sparking the fire.

"There is a strong message going out to everyone who enjoys using the backcountry: Be extremely careful with any open flame, match, or cigarette or the forest you now enjoy may not be there later on," said North Vancouver RCMP Cpl. Richard de Jong in a statement.

Officials say wildfire season has started early this year, and are asking people to stay on the look out for any signs of smoke or flames.

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