Two fires in Stanley Park caused by cigarette butts: fire officials

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services now says a pair of grass fires in Stanley Park over the long weekend were human-caused.

The first fire happened Monday afternoon, on Cathedral Trail, deep in the forest.

Crews arrived with the help of park rangers to find a two-by-two-metre area around a stump that was smouldering.

While they were on scene, they were flagged down by a passerby, alerting them to a second fire in a grassy area near Second Beach.

A witness told CTV News there was also a third fire, near the totem poles, though firefighters didn’t have a record of that blaze.

The on-duty chief told CTV News Tuesday morning that both confirmed fires were accidentally caused by a discarded cigarette butt.

Firefighters are now renewing their warnings about tinder-dry conditions in the park.

“Everybody needs to be our ears and eyes,” says Karen Fry, Chief of Vancouver Fire Rescue Services.

“If you see someone smoking in a park, gently remind them. Maybe they’re visitors to our city and they don’t know. Gently remind them there’s no smoking in our parks.”

Since June, crews have been called to 23 fires in Stanley Park. On Friday, the Vancouver Park Board took the unprecedented step of shutting down the park during overnight hours due to the extreme fire risk.

“The current conditions in Stanley Park are extreme right now and given the size of the park, the risk of a fire breaking out overnight when fewer people may notice it or report it presents a significant threat to the wellbeing of the park,” said Amit Gandha, director of park operations, in a release.

The park will be shut down between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. indefinitely, until the fire risk has been significantly reduced.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim