UPDATE: Grass fire next to Westbank Walmart deemed suspicious | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Grass fire next to Westbank Walmart deemed suspicious

A grass fire near Westbank's Walmart, June 25, 2021.
Image Credit: Marshall Jones
June 25, 2021 - 12:12 PM

The West Kelowna Fire Department is currently investigating a suspicious grass fire that sparked just before noon today.

Firefighters were called to the grass fire behind the Walmart at 2170 Louie Dr. in West Kelowna at around 11:39 a.m. today, June 25. There were 16 firefighters and five fire trucks on scene.

Fire chief Jason Brolund said firefighters knocked down the blaze within 20 minutes and there was concern because the fire was spreading uphill, in dry grass and trees, toward homes under construction.

"It literally burned right up to the fence (when) our guys stopped it," he said.

No homes were damaged and no one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is suspicious and the RCMP have been called to investigate.

A witness said homeless people frequent the area and she speculated it may have started in a camp.

"We've been increasing our preparedness every day for the last couple weeks so while we never like to see this happen, we expect it," Brolund said. "This should be a message to the public on how dry it is and how quickly a fire can spread when it gets a little bit of wind behind it."

A fire next to the Westbank Walmart, June 25, 2021.
A fire next to the Westbank Walmart, June 25, 2021.
Image Credit: Marshall Jones

— This story was updated at 12:48 p.m. Friday, June 25, 2021 to include comment from fire chief Jason Brolund.

— This story was updated at 12:23 p.m. Friday, June 25, 2021 to include an update from the scene and additional photos.

— This story was updated at 1:33 p.m. Friday, June 25, 2021 with new information from West Kelowna Fire Department.


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