UPDATE: West Kelowna wildfire extinguished; cause deemed accidental

An air tanker drops fire retardant on the wildfire burning on a hill above Westside Road in West Kelowna, Friday, June 17, 2016.

WEST KELOWNA – The cause of the wildfire that threatened homes in West Kelowna and forced residents out of their homes yesterday has been deemed accidental by fire investigators.

Ten homes were evacuated yesterday, June 17, on Scott Crescent in the Diamond View subdivision as a brush fire rapidly burned up the steep hillside from Westside Road.

The approximately two-hectare fire is now extinguished. Crews remained on the scene overnight and will continue to patrol for hot spots today.

West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund said the fire burned right to the edge of the ten evacuated homes on Scott Crescent. That’s were firefighters were deployed to keep the flames from going any further.

Brolund said the priority was keeping the homes safe.

The evacuated residents were allowed back into their homes late in the day.

Firefighters are on the scene of a grassfire above Westside Road in West Kelowna, Friday, June 17, 2016.
Firefighters are on the scene of a grassfire above Westside Road in West Kelowna, Friday, June 17, 2016.

Along with the firefighters on the ground battling to get the fire under control yesterday afternoon, an air tanker dropped retardant and a helicopter dumped water.

“The ignition source was not able to be conclusively determined by investigators or through statements from residents and bystanders,” Brolund said in a media release.

He said the fire is “an unfortunate and sobering example of how fast a wildfire can grow” even with yesterday’s cooler conditions and the rain earlier in the week.

“As we head into the summer season we urge the public to get prepared and exercise extreme caution with any source of ignition,” Brolund said in the release.

Carla Butt, who is staying with her in-laws after being evacuated from her home by the Fort McMurray wildfire, was one of the people evacuated by the blaze. She says she packed a bag and grabbed the dog, joking she is getting used to this.

A helicopter drops a load of water on the wildfire burning on the hillside between Westside Road and Scott Crescent, Friday, June 17, 2016.
A helicopter drops a load of water on the wildfire burning on the hillside between Westside Road and Scott Crescent, Friday, June 17, 2016.

— This story was updated at 12:45 p.m., Friday, June 17, 2016 to add video.

— This story was updated at 1:05 p.m., Friday, June 17, 2016 to add information from West Kelowna Fire Rescue.

— This story was updated at 9:40 a.m., Saturday, June 18, 2016 to say the fire was extinguished and add more comment from fire chief Jason Brolund.


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