Bush detective: the 'art and science' of forest fire investigation
"It's like looking for that needle in a haystack. Sometimes you find it, sometimes you get stuck by it"
As Jeff Antoszek walks through bush near Lively that was left blackened and crispy by a forest fire earlier this summer, he doesn't see what everyone else sees.
After 15 years as a fire investigator and fire behaviour specialist with the Ministry of Natural Resources, it doesn't take him long to figure out where the fire started — and which path it took through the forest.
But, Antoszek said it's rare to find that "smoking gun" like a cigarette butt or shaved metal from a railway track.
"Sometimes, you know, it's like looking for that needle in a haystack. Sometimes you find it, sometimes you get stuck by it," he said.
Here's what the fire looked like when his colleagues at the ministry were trying to put it out.
But Antoszek said like most human caused fires, actually fingering a guilty party is very difficult. He said his goal is figure out how a fire started so that public awareness campaigns can be tailored to prevent similar fires in future summers.