Tag Archives: Fire

Trail RCMP Update June 3, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2523

On May 28, 2019, at 5:44 p.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP responded to the report of an intentionally set fire outside of the Gescan building in the 1300 block of Columbia Avenue, in Trail, BC. The RCMP conducted an investigation and identified an alleged suspect. The RCMP located and arrested the alleged 34-year-old male suspect near the area of the fire.

The 34-year-old male suspect will make his first court appearance on August 15, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. in Provincial Court, in Rossland, BC.
The RCMP are still determining if there are any connections to the seven grass fires lit along Columbia Avenue on the Silver City Day Weekend, in May 2019.
The charge against the suspect will be Arson for causing damage to property contrary to Section 434 of the Criminal Code.

Additionally: Wildfire Prevention

The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP are beginning to receive complaints of people throwing cigarette butts out of windows of vehicles. The RCMP would like to remind the public that discarded cigarette butts can start fires which can quickly become out of control due to the dry conditions in Trail and the Greater area. This could result in damage to property and serious harm or death to the public. Anyone caught throwing a cigarette butt out a vehicle window can face fines under the BC Motor Vehicle Act for littering. Any associated damage or harm to human life that result from this type of negligence can result in criminal and civil consequences to the perpetrator(s).

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2581

On May 31, 2019, the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP responded to a complaint of a black bear roaming the neighbourhood in the area of Bay Avenue and Topping Street, in West Trail, BC. The bear was dispatched by the RCMP due to the risk to the general public which included children in the area at the time of the incident.

The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP remind the public to secure their garbage in an effort to reduce animal attractants and human-wildlife conflict.

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2585

On May 31, 2019, the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP received a complaint of speeding vehicles during school hours in the Glenmerry Elementary School Zone, in Trail, BC. The RCMP would like to remind the public that school is still in operation until the end of the school year on June 27, 2019.

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2596

On June 1, 2019, at approximately 6:00 p.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP responded to a call of an assault with a weapon at the Tunnel Pub located on Schofield Highway, in Trail, BC. A 54-year-old male was hit in the face with a beer glass by another 54-year-old male assailant during a verbal dispute. Alcohol was a factor in the situation. The assailant fled the scene; however, was located and arrested by the RCMP. The assailant was held in custody overnight and released on conditions not to communicate with the victim, not to attend the Tunnel Pub, and to abstain from the consumption of alcohol and non-prescription drugs.
The assailant will make his first court appearance on August 8, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. in Provincial Court, in Rossland, BC.

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2607

On June 2, 2019, at 5:53 a.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP responded to a call of a sudden death of a 60-year-old male along the Columbia River near the Bailey Street and Bay Avenue, in downtown Trail, BC. The death is not considered suspicious at this time and the BC Coroner Service is the lead investigating agency.

Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP File # 2019-2616

On June 2, 2019, at 3:31 p.m. the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP conducted an investigation into the alleged impaired driving of a 42-year-old male driver and his vehicle on the Schofield Highway, in Warfield, BC. The driver and vehicle was swerving in and out of his lane and smashed the side of his vehicle into the cement median at one point. The RCMP located the driver and his damaged vehicle. The driver found to be under the influence of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle and failed a roadside screening device breath test administered by the RCMP officer. The driver was issued a 90-day Immediate Driving Prohibition under Section 215.43(2.1) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act and has his vehicle impounded for 30 days.

The Trail and Greater District Detachment will continue its enhanced campaign against impaired driving in order to make the roadways safer for the public throughout the summer.

Sergeant Mike Wicentowich
NCO i/c Trail Detachment
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) / Government of Canada
mike.wicentowich @ rcmp-grc.gc.ca (remove spaces around @ to restore email address)
Tel: 250-368-2180
Cel: 250-231-1704
Fax: 250-364-1453

Smoke Haze Due To Controlled Burn

Last night (May 8) it was a cloud on the western horizon – today it’s a smelly haze hanging over the town.
What’s Burning?
It is an “Ecosystem restoration burn planned for Gibbs Creek” according to the BC Wildfire Service.

According to the site page:
The key goals of this burn include:

  • rejuvenating the shrub, herb and grass layer, which will enhance habitat for mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk;
  • improving overall biodiversity in the area and promoting more climate-resilient tree stands; and
  • reducing accumulations of dead and combustible material, which will decrease the risk of future catastrophic wildfires in the area.

We can all hope that it goes well and the smoke quickly dissipates.

Meanwhile it’s a reminder that fire season is coming. The time to check your readiness is Now before it’s too late to be effective. Check those fire extinguishers to see if they still have a charge. Clean up any dry debris that could become kindling. Give some thought to exactly what you will take if you have to leave in a hurry because you won’t be clear about it in the moment.

Follow the latest wildfire news:
* on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
* on Facebook: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

Think about using the RDKB’s new Voyent Alert App to get the most up-to-date notifications on your phone or mobile device. We learned more about this during Preparedness Week.

The Homeless Could Make Many More Homeless

Regulations restrict the ability those who are supposed to protect the community from doing so.

In the July 17, 2017 City Council Committee Of The Whole meeting a disturbing state of affairs came to light which affects all of us who live and / or own property in Grand Forks.

A short while ago the province instituted a province wide state of emergency due to the heightened wildfire threat. Large areas of BC are burning and over 30,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and towns. Many don’t know if they will have homes to go back to.

Here in Grand Forks we’ve been spared so far but the conditions are prime for a fire to take off and endanger the town. Hence bans on open fires and camp fires.

Even with this risk, and ban, there are a few individuals who are flaunting these rules with relative impunity. These are a small number of the homeless people who have no warm place to spend the night. And even though it’s scorching hot during the day it does get quite cool at night . . . so they start campfires when it gets cold.

One of these people has a small camp on the side of Observation Mountain fairly close to residential properties at the north end of 2nd and 3rd streets. People who live in houses in the area are quite upset because not only does this person repeatedly have camp fires past sundown but apparently nobody has the power to make him stop doing this.

The Fire department can come and put out the fires. They have and continue to do so. They could ticket him but seeing as he has no income or address that would be a futile exercise.

The RCMP will not likely arrest him because it’s a mental health issue – not a crime (yet). In cases involving mental health they do not incarcerate individuals here in BC. If they do apprehend him he won’t go to jail; he’ll be taken to a health facility where he won’t likely be incarcerated. (for more info on how the RCMP deal with homeless and mental health related offenders see the  video in this article)

Provincial regulations regarding flaunting the campfire ban have a penalty that results in a fine, not arrest and incarceration. From the province’s web page on Fire Bans and Restrictions “Serious fines and penalties can result for not adhering to these rules while in the jurisdiction of the BC Wildfire Service.” That presumes that the individuals can pay fines and act rationally and with care. And aren’t likely to flagrantly flaunt the rules.

If his campfire were to get out of control and start the forest on fire, and the fire department was unable to get to it in time, the fire would race up Observation Mountain. On the top of it are communications facilities, antennae and cell phone towers – this would leave us with next to no wireless communications. On the other side is the residential subdivision of Copper Ridge which consists of fairly expensive homes nestled right in the interface. The forest on the town facing side comes right down to residential areas that are right downtown. This hasn’t happened yet because the fire department has been responsive to the threat and the campfire hasn’t gotten out of control. I doubt that the person in question has a fire extinguisher handy. Or can afford one.

So we have a situation where the town could lose significant amounts of property and possibly lives. Potentially millions of dollars in damage. And apparently no one can do anything about it due to regulatory proscription.

Conversations on social media show that people’s frustrations and fears are tending towards anger and the threat of vigilante actions is implied. The irony of this would be that those engaging in this behavior could find themselves incarcerated and unable to do anything while their property burns.

We do have an extreme weather facility to provide shelter for homeless people when the weather becomes too dangerous to sleep outside but those are intended for cold weather in the winter time, not summer. And the opinion of those who have had to deal with these individuals (there are more than just the one on the mountain) is that a number of them wouldn’t take advantage of the service if it was open.

These are people who have mental health problems. Some have complex issues which are exacerbated with drug abuse. Which means they aren’t going to make rational decisions. And will not react normally or predictably to suggestions, instructions or demands that they change their behavior.

If they are too stressed out, or feel too pressured to change how they behave, they might respond negatively. The comments I’ve heard regarding this person’s reactions to comments on this describe him as belligerent. This is how the town lost the two remaining historic hotels a few years ago. The court case about that became a mental health one. It also figured into the fire bombing of city hall by a frustrated homeless man.

So in retrospect the situation we find our town in was predictable. Even so no one, no organization, was able to look far enough ahead and head it off.

So what’s the town to do? What can it do before it’s too late?

I find myself in the uncomfortable position (because I do not want to see people locked up for being different) of asking the question: Is this person not a danger to others? (or by implication of reactionary vigilante reaction to his behaviour a danger to himself as well?)

Popular culture says that when someone is clearly a danger to themselves or others they can be detained for a period of time for cooling down and observation.
Is that even true?

In BC ‘involuntary admission’ only results in a 48 hour stay and only after a doctor has examined the individual and only if they meet certain criteria. (see page 13 of this PDF). This can be extended to 14 days and even a month but I’m not a mental health professional and it’s not clear to me if any of this would result in a person in this situation being removed from the area until the fire risk was over.

It’s clear to me and others that provincial regulations never envisioned this situation. And given the glacial speed at which change happens I wonder how much of our town, and BC, will have to burn down before regulations reflect reality.

You can watch, and listen, to the discussion in the Committee Of The Whole (35 minutes 17 seconds in) below