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“Hot wheel” from passing CN Rail train sparked trio of PG-area wildfires

CN Rail has been fined $7000 for causing a trio of wildfires in the Prince George area in April of 2020.

The decision was made by Robert Keddie of the BC Wildfire Service during a December ruling.

Just before 4 pm on April 22nd of that year, the wildfire service received its first of four phone calls reporting a series of blazes near Hansard Lake and Shelley.

The callers stated they saw smoke and flames near the railway tracks and that fires were spreading slowly.

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In total, the wildfire service found nine separate wildfires in connection to the reports – with each of them on either the north or west side of the tracks.

Over the course of two days (April 22nd and 23rd), crews and volunteer firefighters extinguished the series of blazes according to Keddie.

Five days later (April 28th), a pair of officers from the wildfire service investigated the cause where it was later determined railway operations by CN, most likely sparks from a passing train.

Keddie noted a conversation with a CN employee described that the train relevant to the wildfires had a “hot wheel”, causing the sparks to spread along the rail line between Hansard Lake and Shelley.

CN Rail was ordered to pay the fine by February 17th of this year.

You can find the full report here.

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