The Elephant Hill wildfire ravaged the Interior of B.C. (Black Press files)

The Elephant Hill wildfire ravaged the Interior of B.C. (Black Press files)

2017 Elephant Hill wildfire most likely caused by smoking materials

Investigation did not identify who started the fire

An investigation into the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire has determined smoking materials to be the most likely cause, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

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. It destroyed 45 homes in Boston Flats, 40 in Loon Lake and 33 in the Pressy Lake area among others.

“The BC Wildfire Service’s fire origin and cause specialists investigated the Elephant Hill wildfire, and their report indicated that the most likely cause of the Elephant Hill wildfire was smoking or smoking materials. The ‘smoking materials’ classification includes matches, cigars, pipe tobacco, cigarettes and/or marijuana,” according to a release by the BC Wildfire Service.

Lightning, an escaped campfire, category 2 to 3 burning or Resource Open Fire Activity, arson, equipment use, railroads, vehicles and electrical transmission/a utility line were all eliminated as potential causes.

The BC Wildfire Service’s origin and cause report was completed in fall 2017 but part of a larger RCMP investigation into the wildfire. The BC Wildfire Service is sharing it now because the RCMP investigation recently concluded.

“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.”

In September 2019, RCMP announced they concluded their investigation into the wildfire and that they had turned the file over to the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS).

“They have to review all the investigative findings and see what charges would be appropriate. We’re committed that if they need further information, we’ll provide that as they move forward,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet at the time.

The BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) confirmed that no charges have been approved following a review of the Report to Crown Counsel (RCC) submitted by the RCMP in relation to the Elephant Hill wildfire, says Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BCPS.

The BCPS applies a two-part test to determine whether charges will be approved, and a prosecution initiated. There must be a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the investigating agency; and, the public interest must require a prosecution, says McLaughlin.

Under BCPS policy, a substantial likelihood of conviction exists when Crown Counsel is satisfied there is a strong, solid case of substance to present to the court. To reach this conclusion, a prosecutor will consider what evidence is likely to be admissible and available at trial; the objective reliability of the admissible evidence; and whether there are viable defences or other legal or constitutional impediments to the prosecution that remove any substantial likelihood of conviction.

“In this case, the BCPS was not satisfied that the test was met on the available evidence and no charges have been approved.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C.’s parliament buildings in Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
Surrey gets two cabinet ministers, a parliamentary secretary and government whip

Premier John Horgan’s NDP MLAs were sworn in on Tuesday and the cabinet was revealed Thursday afternoon

Steve ‘Elvis’ Elliott performs for residents of Amica White Rock. Exercise-to-music programs that led to a threat of city fines due to a noise complaint are to resume next week. (Contributed file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Amica White Rock

Peace Portal Seniors Village outbreak declared over

Wickson Pier in Crescent Beach is closed to the public, as work to replace and repair piles continues. (Susan Richards de Wit photo)
PHOTOS: Repairs to Crescent Beach pier complete

$180,000 Wickson Pier project included pile replacement, says City of Surrey parks manager

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Brenda Locke trying to breathe life into Surrey’s defunct Public Safety Committee

Surrey councillor’s motion will be up for debate at a future council meeting

The Festival of Lights; Jingle Bell White Rock; and the Lighted Boat Parade all helped light up the White Rock waterfront on Saturday, Dec. 7. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Festival of Lights postponed

While event founder remains optimistic, the future of this year’s display is uncertain

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

Most Read