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Fireworks suspected as cause of Kalamoir fire

Kalamoir park looking out onto Okanagan Lake. The flames and smoke from Saturday's fire could be seen across the lake, from downtown Kelowna and the Mission.
July 22, 2013 - 10:33 AM

WEST KELOWNA - Fire crews were able to find the origin of the fire that spread through two hectares of Kalamoir park land on Saturday night.

Human use of either flares or fireworks likely ignited the flames but West Kelowna Fire Department Assistant Chief Darren Lee says they couldn't find any trace of the materials.

“We can't say for certain... we couldn't find any evidence on the ground," Lee says, but eye witnesses reported seeing flares or fireworks.

"Usually there is something leftover," Lee says, like the paper remains of a bottle rocket, but, "that doesn't mean we can always find it... we cause damage when we put the fire out."

What they can say for certain is that it was a human caused fire, as there was no lightning in the area. There are no campsites in Kalamoir Park and gates close in the evening but people can still find ways of entering the park at night.

"It's certainly not a place we see a high frequency of fires," Lee says and park users are usually responsible. But the rolling grassy hills can carry a fire quickly into the adjacent residential areas.

"It's in a very treacherous spot... it started below five to six residential homes on Weatherhill Road," Lee says. Five homes were evacuated for a period of two hours, while firefighters used a sprinkling system along the residential perimeter.

Thankfully fire crews were able to knock the fire out of the trees, preventing it from spreading through the treetops.

Yesterday 12 firefighters and three officers from B.C. Wildfire were still on scene putting out hot spots and digging an 18 foot and half wide trench. Clearing off all the pine needles and grass leaves a buffer of bare mineral soil around the affected area should any flare-ups occur.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250)718-0428.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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