(Bridge at Bowen Park/Nanaimo RCMP)

Nanaimo RCMP are commending the vigilance of a local dog walker who spotted a fire that could have spread to an adjacent forest if not for their promptness.

At approximately 6 a.m. on Monday, June 3rd, a 58-year-old man was walking his dog in Bowen Park when he spotted smoke and flames emanating from a wooden walking bridge near the duck pond.

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He then sprinted home and grabbed a fire extinguisher to douse the flames as much as possible before calling 911. After that, fire crews attended the scene and were able to extinguish the blaze completely.

Police have since determined that the fire was set intentionally, and if not for the actions of the attentive dog walker, could have easily spread to the nearby tinder dry forest.

“This was an extremely selfish deliberate act that could have caused significant damage to not only the bridge but to the surrounding forest,” said Cst. Gary O’Brien, media spokesperson for Nanaimo RCMP.

Anyone with information about who is responsible for setting the fire is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.