Arson suspects arrested after Colwood brush fires

Two youth taken into custody as police follow photographic lead

Two youths have been arrested in connection to a pair of suspicious brush fires near Fort Rodd Hill.

Alert witnesses photographed two individuals hurriedly leaving the site of a fire along Ocean Boulevard just after noon July 31.

“We located the two youths, who were subjects of interest, and they were arrested and we anticipate forwarding charges,” said Const. Joanne Harrisson of the West Shore RCMP.

Colwood Fire Department, alerted to a blaze at 12:13 p.m., arrived at the scene to find a 12-by-21-metre fire burning through the brush. One of the fire vehicles was sent into Belmont Park to cut off the fire, when firefighters discovered a second fire, approximately 15-by-18 metres, burning more than a kilometre away.

Both were deemed suspicious, said Colwood assistant fire chief John Cassidy, adding the second fire wasn’t sparked by the first.

“There was no natural cause to be found,” he said.

“There was no lightning, no natural causes, or light reflecting off a bottle or lensing from glass and no unattended camp fires.”

Fortunately there were no injuries or damage to property or structures, Cassidy said, but it could have been worse if the public hadn’t alerted them immediately and firefighters hadn’t responded so quickly. At its peak approximately 18 firefighters from Colwood and View Royal were fighting the blaze.

“A quick and aggressive fire attack for containment and extinguishment made the difference in both of these fires,” Cassidy said. “There were some key factors that came together … it had the potential of taking off and being hard to bring under control.”

The province has imposed a burning ban on all Crown land and unincorporated areas, while most municipalities have also imposed their own burning bans.

The two youths, both under the age of 18, are residents of Greater Victoria.

alim@vicnews.com