Resident squashes squirrel-sparked grass fire

“We just got really lucky, that’s all.”

If lightning and human-caused fires weren’t enough this season, a hapless squirrel was at the centre of the latest fire attended to by the 100 Mile Fire Rescue team.

On Sept. 5, a squirrel raced up a hydro pole along 103 Mile Lake Road. Fire Chief Roger Hollander says the creature hit the transformer on the power pole and was electrocuted, falling to the ground, where a grass fire quickly started.

A potentially destructive scenario was turned into a happy one, when a quick thinking neighbour saw the fire across the street.

“We heard the bang, the power went out and then about five minutes later I looked out the window and the whole front was on fire, so I just ran over, picked up the hose,” says Jim McMahon.

The fire had grown several meters by then, stretching across the front of the lawn and approaching the next door neighbour’s yard, as well as some nearby trees.

“I was thinking, ‘Uh-oh. That’s not good,’” says McMahon.

He says he headed off the fire with the hose, preventing it from spreading any further.

“I stopped a bunch of it first, slowed it down because it was burning pretty good over here, and then up under the tree.”

The fire was out by the time 100 Mile Fire Rescue arrived. McMahon was still watering the grass down but says it only took a couple of minutes to put out the fire.

While the squirrel knocked out power to the surrounding areas, BC Hydro arrived on scene shortly after the fire department and power was restored to the community shortly after.

In a season where wildfires have spread in a matter of days and evacuated communities, including the 103 for several weeks, McMahon says they’re lucky.

“We’re lucky. We’re lucky … because it was up under the tree here, we’re lucky it didn’t get into the tree and carry off, because everyone’s lawns are so dry,” says McMahon.

“We just got really lucky, that’s all.”

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