July 30, 2013 - 11:12 AM
UPDATE: 1 p.m. July 30, 2013
KELOWNA – Fire crews are still on scene mopping up a grassfire at the north end of Glenmore beside 2130 Scenic Road. The flames broke out near a number of homes at the base of the hill and climbed upwards. The flames managed to cover an area of 400 by 600 feet.
Around noon Platoon Captain Kelly Stephens announced B.C. Forestry was on their way due to sudden wind gusts causing the flames to candle some of the pine trees. Stephens says they are in the overhaul stage of putting out the hotspots.
“We had to have a couple homeowners evacuate from the area, we've had power shut off to the area as well just because of the water drops that are going to be coming in with the helicopter.”
The area is cordonned off by the RCMP.
Rebekah Wirch said she first saw the flames at 10:30 this morning.
“We just ran out and grabbed some garden hoses and started spraying it down,” she says, adding the fire trucks arrived about ten minutes later.
“It was spreading really fast though - like crazy,” she says.
Her father Don Wirch was alerted by one his tenants living in a rental property that backs onto the hillside.
“All the neighbors ran out with their hoses,” he says of their efforts to contain the flames.
Ray Pfefferly and his friend pulled over on their drive to work when they noticed the smoke.
“We thought it was a house going up because of the black smoke,” he says.
“We came up here and firetrucks came... they only had a few guys with them so we started dragging up hose for them.”
Pfefferly suspects it was a burn barrel behind one of the homes, since one resident reported seeing the flames surrounding the barrel.
But Wirch says at this point it's just speculation whether the fire was human-caused.
“That's the puzzling thing – no one was back there,” he says, but noted a large pile of brush in the area.
One of his tenants, Rachel Yoo, was carrying out suitcases full of clothing, as well as two animal cages for her guinea pig and hamster.
She admitted it was nerve wracking seeing the flames so close to her home.
"Plus, our house is made out of wood," she says.
A total of three engines, one command vehicle, one bush truck and two tenders were on scene, along with a fire crew of 25 including paid on-call workers.
Cpt. Stephens says in such dry conditions everyone should be extremely cautious when using cigarettes or ATV's for example. A fire, "could happen really quickly," he says.
While two residences were evacuated, no structures caught fire.
“We had some small out-buildings,” Stephens says, but they were able to contain the fire before it could spread.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
UPDATE: 12:01 p.m. July 30, 2013
Platoon captain Kelly Stephens says B.C. Forestry has been called in as part of an evolving strategy to battle a brush fire in Glenmore.
While the chief says the fire is still contained, recent wind gusts have allowed the 500 square foot fire to move and consume a tree. No structures have been damaged though two homes have been evacuated. A helicopter is on the way.
UPDATE: 11:19 a.m. July 30, 2013
The fire chief announced the fire on Scenic Road is contained.
11:12 am. July 30, 2013
KELOWNA - Firefighters are on the scene of a brush fire burning on Scenic Road between Glenmore and Brenda Roads.
Maryanne Lutz, a local resident says she noticed smoke at around 10:45 and promptly called 911. She told Infotel News it's rare to see a fire like this one burning in the area once open burning season is over. She believes the area of the fire is near an old farm.
Police have taped the road off and aren't allowing anyone into the area.
More to come.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013