A fire sends a column of smoke high above Hardy Mountain in Grand Forks on April 9, 2020. During the summer dry months, any fire has a risk of growing into wildfire. (Grand Forks Gazette File Photo)

Maintain your yards, advises Grand Forks Fire Department

Short grass kept Aug. 2 camper fire from spreading

A parked trailer on Covert Road was destroyed by a fire on Aug. 2, but without the short grass on the property, it could have been much worse.

The Grand Forks Fire Department quickly extinguished the blaze.

“We received the call at around 5:45 and it probably took us less than 10 minutes to knock everything that was on fire when we got there,” said Deputy Fire Chief Rich Piché.

The RV was consumed by the fire, which is yet undetermined.

“It was a brand new trailer, it was parked, it wasn’t plugged in, and the only thing running was a fridge on propane,” said Piche. “It was a 2020, brand new unit. They bought it four months ago.”

The fire didn’t spread much further despite the high temperatures and dry conditions., but it could have been a different story, had the flames reached the field of tall grass on property to the north of the RV.

RELATED: Temperatures soar, wildfire danger rating rises across Kootenays

“It wasn’t a risk that day, because the grass around it still had a bit of green, so the rate of spread was quite slow,” said Piché. “The other good thing is that only the property in behind had tall grass. Everybody around had their grass green and short, which stops [the fire] in its path. There was just the concern to the north and it was moving slow, so we were able to action it quickly.”

There are currently seven active wildfires in the Southeast Fire Centre, three of which are still out of control. The Southeast Fire Centre is maintaining a ban on large fires, as well as fireworks. Campfires should be kept small and only used for cooking or heating, and include safety measures such as building a fuel break and having water nearby if needed.

“Right now, you can look out in Grand Forks and see the green has faded, and we’re in that dried-out brown stage now,” said Grand Forks fire chief George Seigler.

“There’s the potential for any fire now to spread depending on the location or the time of day. The risk is there.”

If there’s anything the department hopes residents take from this, it’s to keep their properties well maintained.

“The one thing that I did give kudos to the owner for, was they did keep their grass trimmed and short,” said Piché. “That’s what saved the exposure – they were about 45 feet away from the house or any building, but it kept it at the point of origin and it kept it from spreading. If people can keep their grass trimmed, it certainly helps and buys us time.

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