May 21, 2016 - 9:30 AM
WEST KELOWNA – Firefighters had to hike up a hillside above Smith Creek in West Kelowna yesterday afternoon to put out a wildfire before it spread to the surrounding forest.
West Kelowna Fire Rescue was called at about 3:41 p.m., May 20, about a plume of smoke in the trees about 600 metres above Copper Ridge Place, according to a media release.
“Due to the limited access and steep terrain, crews had to hike up to the fire carrying hand tools and water cans with them,” assistant fire chief Brent Watson says in the release.
The 25-foot by 25-foot fire was burning vigorously on the ground in the dense bush when firefighters got there. The department’s four-by-four wildland unit managed to make its way up rough roads and tracks to get about 100 m from the fire to provide water and foam to make sure the blaze was completely out.
Watson says the cause of the fire is under investigation, but points out there was not lightening reported in the area.
He says conditions are drier than normal for this time of year making for an early start to the wildfire season.
The Smith Creek area was the scene of a massive fire in July 2014 that saw thousands of West Kelowna residents evacuated.
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