A camp or cooking fire — and an unopened beer — was found at the point of origin of the Peterson Creek Park grass fire, prompting fire investigators to suspect the blaze was man made.
What Insp. Dan Funk and Capt. Sheldon Guertin were unable to confirm Monday was whether or not the blaze was an accident or intentional.
“That’s what I’m struggling with right now,” Funk told The Daily News.
The fire started at the top of Peterson Creek at about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and quickly spread because of the steep terrain and afternoon wind.
A combined force of City and provincial fire crews had the blaze contained within two hours. Firefighters told The Daily News on Sunday that no homes were ever at risk.
Given burn patterns in the grass and on the ground, and testimonials by the first firefighters on scene, Funk and Guertin found what they believe is the fire’s point of origin at the creek’s plateau.
Funk said there’s evidence of a campfire or cooking fire and a seating area within the burn area. He also found tinfoil and the remains of food buried in the ground. Nearby was an unopened beer.
The problem is the wind pulled the flames to and fro across the plateau, so it’s difficult to determine if the camp or cooking fire was started on Sunday or burned earlier and was overrun by the grass fire, he said.
“It’s still smoking but, because it’s in a burned area, is that because of a fire that crossed it?” said Funk.
The fire danger within City limits was high on Sunday. Funk said a discarded cigarette could easily of sparked the blaze. He has his eyes open for such evidence as well.
“I haven’t found anything that points to that yet,” he said. “There’s a few hypotheses in the works.”
Unless there was a lightning strike or an electrical source is discovered on the plateau, the blaze is most definitely human caused, said Guertin.
An investigation is ongoing.