Two men accidentally caused a fire that burned in a field in between Sa-Hali secondary and nearby apartment and townhomes earlier this month.
Kamloops Fire Rescue fire investigator Kevin Cassidy told KTW the two men were smoking marijuana and admitted to playing with a lighter when they inadvertently set the grass on fire.
“They said they tried to extinguish the fire, which was confirmed by a witness who saw it happening and saw the two guys trying to put out the fire,” said Cassidy, who described the men as young adults.
Cassidy said there were multiple patches of burnt grass in the area and it looked as though the wind picked up and blew the flames to multiple starting points.
The fire started on the high school field and jumped a fence onto city property near some homes.
Quick work by area residents with garden hoses and by Kamloops firefighters helped douse the flames that took hold at about 8 p.m.
According to freelance photographer Nathan Ritchie, residents strung together garden hoses to fight the flames amid windy conditions until Kamloops Fire Rescue personnel arrived.
Cassidy said the fire burned along an uphill slope, which aided its spread.
He said the two men did not specify how they were playing with the lighter.
“We spoke to them, gave them some fire prevention information,” said Cassidy, noting the RCMP was not involved.
“It was clearly an accident,” he said.
The fire department is reminding the public to be extremely careful when handling smoking materials, especially as conditions are now hot and dry.
Cassidy said KFR recommends smokers use a metal container or non-combustable ashtray filled with sand and water to ensure a butt is completely extinguished.
“And be alert,” he said, noting fires caused by smoking materials are common.