July 27, 2016 - 10:12 AM
ENDERBY - Emergency personnel weren’t taking any chances with a wildfire just west of downtown Enderby yesterday afternoon.
In all, there were 66 boots on the ground fighting the 1.5-hectare blaze burning near homes, including 21 members of the Enderby Fire Department, 17 from the Ranchero-Deep Creek Department, 23 from B.C. Wildfire, as well as RCMP and B.C. Ambulance personnel, says Enderby Fire Chief Kevin Alstad.
The fire was actually reported to the fire department by a homeowner on his way back from Vernon around 1:38 p.m., July 26
“He could see the smoke and determined it was behind his place,” Alstad says.
The fire was indeed burning on the man’s property, in a forested area on Twin Lakes Road.
“Once we realized how big it was, we called in other resources for manpower,” Alstad says.
Ground crews immediately began attacking the blaze, which was moving in a southwest direction due to strong winds.
“It was good for the homeowner because it was pushing the fire away, but it was also heading towards other houses,” Alstad says.
While the fire was near homes, it did not threaten any and no one was evacuated, Alstad says. The closest the fire got to a home was about 10 to 15 feet.
Because the fire was located uphill, firefighters had to drag hose lines into the area.
Once the air tanker arrived from B.C. Wildfire, Alstad says the blaze was brought under control.
The Enderby Fire Department and B.C. Wildfire will be investigating the cause of the blaze today. It is currently unknown how it started.
Regardless of the cause, Alstad says it’s an important reminder of how quickly a fire can take off.
“Even though we’ve had all this rain, especially in mountain areas it’s still pretty dry. We had rain a couple days ago but the ground is sucking it up and it’s pretty dry. If there’s any wind (fire) takes off,” Alstad says.
— This story was updated at 10 a.m., July 27, 2016 to include new information from Kevin Alstad.
— This story was updated at 5 p.m., July 26, 2016 to say air support was sent from B.C. Wildfire and again at 5:15 p.m. to include details from Kevin Skrepnek.
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