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

File
TNRD to test emergency alert app

The Voyent Alert! emergency notification will be sent April 23.

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Interior Health hospitals not strained by rising COVID case counts

While provincial hospitalizations rise, health care systems in the B.C. Interior remain robust, say officials

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Clearwater sunrise (Kelly Ludbrook photo)
The Student Journal: Painting Sunrise

The Student Journal is a new section that showcases the work of the local high schoolers.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $82M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

Most Read