Overnight brush fire on highway north of Vernon 'could've been a different story'

FILE - A B.C. Wildfire firefighter is dousing a hotspot on a wildfire in the Kamloops area. The Armstrong-Spallumcheen Fire Department responded to a brush fire on a slope of Highway 97, just north of Greenhow Road last night, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

SPALLUMCHEEN - Emergency crews took no chances with a brush fire burning on a slope off Highway 97 Wednesday night.

Armstrong-Spallumcheen fire chief Ian Cummings says the half-acre blaze was reported just after 9 p.m., Aug. 26, just north of Greenhow Road on Highway 97.

“It was quite visible, there was pretty high flames. We had a number of calls on it,” Cummings says.

Located about 700 feet up a slope, getting up to the scene was a challenge for firefighters, Cummings says. With no vehicle access, firefighters had to climb up to the fire, dragging hose lines with them.

“The guys did a great job,” Cummings says.

Approximately 26 firefighters responded to the fire, as well as a three-person crew from B.C. Wildfire. Between them, the fire was contained, doused, and cleared of any possible hotspots by around midnight.

“We hit it as quickly as possible and were very lucky the weather cooperated. If we’d had wind it could’ve been a different story,” Cummings says.

One northbound lane of Highway 97 was shut down during the response, but Cummings says at that time of night the impact to traffic was minimal.

What caused the blaze is unknown, but the fire department is investigating.

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

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