Thanks to the quick work of passing motorists and the Courtenay Fire Department, five grass fires on the side of Ryan Road in Courtenay Wednesday evening (July 7) were extinguished before they could cause significant damage.
Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said they received a call shortly before 8 p.m. for five separate fires 75 to 90m up Ryan Road hill.
“We were fortunate because the wind was with us and blowing towards the road … the fire went down about 10m (down the hill).”
Some drivers who initially spotted the fires pulled to the side of the road pouring water from bottles onto the flames, along with using shoes and even a broom in an attempt to extinguish the flame.
Bardonnex noted while he appreciated the effort of those jumping in to help, his concern is for the safety of those not wearing proper equipment.
“There is a pretty serious risk, especially if you’re wearing sandals and synthetic materials.”
While he added it is not clear what started the blaze, one motorist noted someone driving up the hill was seen tossing objects from a car prior to the fire starting.
After examining the roadway with his crew, Bardonnex said it is possible a car may have started the fire, however, there were no skid marks visible nor any indication of a vehicle malfunction.
He added currently one of the biggest hazards is cigarettes being tossed either from cars or by pedestrians into extremely dry outdoor conditions and warns smokers to extinguish their cigarettes in an ashtray.