There are no charges pending in last spring’s Spryfield area wildfire that investigators said Thursday was caused by an unextinguished campfire.
The Department of Natural Resources announced in a morning release that they have completed their investigation into the fire that destroyed eight homes and whipped flames and thick clouds of smoke across an area between 800 and 1,200 hectares. Most of the homes suffering damage were on Aarons Way and Fortress Drive, both off of Purcell’s Cove Road.
Investigators have determined the fire’s cause was an unextinguished campfire pit on the west bank on MacIntosh Road, which is north of Roaches Pond. That campfire was from April 29, but investigators say the fire flared up the next day and, with the help of strong winds, pushed the blaze towards Purcell’s Cove Road.
Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes during the wildfire, which was brought under control late on May 1.
“It was someone with a campfire and they didn’t extinguish it,” said Walter Fanning, director of forest protection services with the Department of Natural Resources. “It took off on the 29th and then it kept going on the 30th once the weather conditions got severe.”
While they located the source of the fire, investigators can’t identify the person responsible for not properly extinguishing the campfire pit because of a lack of evidence. But even if accidental in nature, “it’s very serious and charges can be laid against (the person) for that,” Fanning added.
This investigation has also uncovered two deliberately set fires the night of April 30 near J.L. Ilsley High School in Spryfield, but Fanning said the suspected arsons didn’t contribute to the main blaze.