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White Pine Beach wildfire deemed suspicious, Port Moody police investigating

The blaze is suspected to be human-caused.
A small wildfire extinguished near White Pine Beach on Oct. 6, 2022, is now under Port Moody police investigation.

A small wildfire extinguished near White Pine Beach Thursday night (Oct. 6) is suspected to be human-caused.

As a result, Port Moody police (PMPD) have deemed the blaze "suspicious" and since have begun an investigation into the incident.

Around 7 p.m., firefighters responded to reports of a wildfire near the concession stand at the popular Sasamat Lake site in təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park.

The flames were spotted by a film crew working in the area, Port Moody Fire Rescue (PMFR) deputy chief Kirk Heaven told the Tri-City News.

Coincidentally, Heaven said they had a water tanker truck on hand and immediately started hosing it down.

The fire grew to 20 by 30 metres before it was contained, held and ultimately extinguished by 24 local fire crew members — all in a span of 20 minutes.

"Thankfully this fire was reported promptly and quickly contained by fire crews," said PMPD spokesperson Const. Sam Zacharias in a news release today (Oct. 7).

"Given the current fire danger rating, we are asking the public to be extra vigilant and report suspicious activity to us immediately."

Zacharias added there are also reports a woman was seen fleeing the scene of the wildfire. No immediate description of the suspect was available as of this publication (Oct. 7).

PMPD officers are hoping to speak with the woman, as well as anyone else who may witnessed suspicious activity.

Metro Vancouver increased the rating to "extreme" today as conditions continue to be drier than normal, but it is likely to be reduced to "high" over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Heaven said with no appreciable rain in the long-range weather forecast, and a long weekend nigh, firefighters are on high alert.

"It is tinder dry," he said. "People need to be careful with their cigarettes or anything that could start a fire."

This marks the third suspected human-caused wildfire in the Tri-Cities region since last Saturday (Oct. 1).

The Minnekhada Regional Park wildfire — also reportedly human-caused — is now under control by fire crews, containing the blaze at 14 hectares in size after efforts to create a 50-foot "wet line" lasted 48 hours long.

An investigation in to the exact cause is set to take place once the flames are fully extinguished.

"Minnekhada Regional Park will remain closed over the long weekend as firefighting efforts are ongoing," said a statement from the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD).

"Intermittent smoke may be visible from isolated pockets over the course of the operation."

As well, Coquitlam crews were able to contain a small wildfire on Burke Mountain early Thursday morning after it grew to 20 by 20 metres.

Around 8 a.m., local firefighters were called to a blaze near the Port Coquitlam and District Hunting and Fishing Club — located on a BC Hydro right-of-way.

No homes or nearby structures were in danger, the City of Coquitlam said, and no evacuation alerts were implemented.

Anyone with more information about the White Pine Beach wildfire is encouraged to call PMPD at 604-461-3456 and quote file-number 2022-5295.