Grass fire spreads quickly above Swan Lake

Firefighters from BX-Swan Lake and Armstrong Fire Rescue doused a 9 acre grass fire above Old Kamloops Road on the west side of Swan Lake on Saturday, April 5, 2014.

VERNON – It started as a small grass fire sparked by a burn pile on the west side of Swan Lake Saturday afternoon ¬— by the time fire crews had the blaze under control, it had burned close to 9 acres.

It just so happened firefighters from both BX-Swan Lake and Armstrong Fire Rescue were wrapping up a mutual aid call for a natural gas leak nearby at Highway 97 and Old Kamloops Road.

BX-Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey says they spotted a large plume of smoke on the ridge and before they arrived at the scene, the call came in on their radios.

Wacey says when crews from both fire halls got to the grass fire, it was already about 5 acres in size and burning out of control.

“The property owners were furiously trying to put it out,” Wacey says. “They were working with a small burn pile and the wind picked up and took it away.”

Almost 20 firefighters fought the flames for about 30 minutes before getting the blaze under control.

Wacey says this is the time of year for grass fires. The snow is gone and last year’s grass has dried out.

The BX-Swan Lake firefighters have put out three grass fires in the last week.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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