Grand Forks Fire/Rescue delivered a fee for service to 9175 Granby Rd. Friday, Nov. 6, after a rash fires at the property later deemed “suspicious” by department investigators, fire and city officials told the Committee of the Whole at council chambers Monday Nov. 9.
The fee amounted to $3,000, based on 15 people-hours spent fighting the flames at $200 per hour, according to Corporate Officer Daniel Drexler. The bill was attached to a cease and desist letter by the City of Grand Forks demanding a stop to the unpermitted fires on the property, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Duncan Redfearn told The Gazette.
Fire Chief George Seigler said the department had put out seven fires stemming from four calls to the property between Tuesday, Nov. 3 and Friday Nov. 6. Grand Forks Fire/Rescue was then called back to the scene Sunday, Nov. 8, to put out three more unpermitted burns, each considered to violate environmental protection measures under the Environmental Management Act, Seigler added.
CAO Redfearn said “right now, the city’s goal is compliance rather than enforcement.” The property owners at 9175 Granby Rd. can pay the city’s fee or potentially face liens against their property, he explained.
Chief Seigler said he expected to have his report on Sunday’s fires to the Office of the Fire Commissioner some time Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Cost estimates based on the department’s fee structure with British Columbia’s Wildfire Office suggest last week’s fires at 9175 Granby Rd. would amount to $47,000, Seigler explained.