An investigation has concluded that the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire was caused by “smoking materials,” the BC Wildfire Service said today (May 4, 2020).
The wildfire started on July 6, 2017, about 2.5 kilometres southeast of Ashcroft. It eventually burned 191,865 hectares in B.C.’s south-central Interior region, including parts of both the Kamloops Fire Centre and Cariboo Fire Centre.
The BC Wildfire Service’s fire origin and cause specialists investigated and their report indicates that the most likely cause of the fire was smoking or smoking materials. The “smoking materials” classification includes matches, cigars, pipe tobacco, cigarettes and/or marijuana.
Other potential causes of the fire were eliminated as part of the investigation, including:
* escaped campfire;
* Category 2, Category 3 or Resource Management Open Fire activity;
* arson/suspicious; juvenile fire setter/fire use; equipment use;
* vehicles; and
* electrical transmission/utility line/pole.
The BC Wildfire Service’s fire origin and cause report was completed in fall 2017 and submitted as part of a larger RCMP investigation into the Elephant Hill wildfire. The RCMP recently concluded its investigation, so the BC Wildfire Service can now share its information regarding the cause of this wildfire, the service said in a news release.
“The BC Wildfire Service and RCMP investigations did not uncover sufficient evidence to identify the person whose actions started the Elephant Hill wildfire. Therefore, it was not possible to lay charges or pursue cost recovery for damages caused by this fire.
“The BC Wildfire Service’s investigation into the Elephant Hill wildfire is now complete and no further action will be taken at this time.”