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Kelowna  

Cig cause of wildfire?

UPDATE: 4 p.m.

Quick action by firefighters stopped a substantial fire from spreading to houses just meters away on Tuesday.

The blaze originally started as just a small brush fire, but wind direction caused it to quickly progress to a substantial fire, according to Steve Roshinsky Kelowna fire platoon captain.

"We brought in all four halls, back filled, brought man power to the scene, and called in forestry with a tanker and a helicopter," said Roshinsky.

Crews did an initial attack tackling the fire and wind direction.

"The fire split so we had two fronts," he said. "They were able to contain both of them and we cancelled the tanker and forestry showed up and it was decided we didn't need the helicopter after all."

Cause of the fire is still being investigated but Roshinsky said the original spot where the fire started was close to the highway.

"The fire was in an open field but the concern was the wind would cause the fire to take off and catch the house roofline," he said.

Firefighters were still on scene working on hot spots and setting up a trench around the whole area as the fire was very close to the highway and things are quite dry.


UPDATE: 3:20 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service helicopter was called off, and ground crews battled the Highway 33 fire.

No structures were threatened, and, unofficially, it appears the blaze may have been started by a flicked cigarette butt.

Crews are still working on the scene, and only a little smoke is lingering in the area.


UPDATE: 3:05 p.m.

Highway 33 is open to a single lane of traffic.


UPDATE: 2:55 p.m.

RCMP are canvassing neighbours about the possible cause of the fire.

Seven fire vehicles remain on scene as crews continue to build a fire guard.


UPDATE: 2:30 p.m.

Fire crews are cutting a fire line by hand around a fire burning in Kelowna's Black Mountain area, just off Highway 33.

Kelowna Fire Department Platoon Capt. Kelly Stephens says there are 28 municipal firefighters on site, from all four local firehalls.

"We're giving it all we've got," he said.

"We're cutting a fire line, trying to contain it," said Stephens. "So far, it's looking good."

It's too early to say what may have caused the fire, but Stephens said fire investigators are at the scene.


UPDATE: 2:03 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service airtanker has been called off.

A bucket helicopter continues to work the blaze, however.

A large number of homes are just uphill from the fire, though none appear to be threatened at the moment.


UPDATE: 2 p.m.

RCMP have closed Highway 33 at Gallagher Road.


UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.

Multiple fire units have arrived on scene.

A witness close by reports the fire appears to mostly be under control.

It is burning between Highway 33 and Joe Riche Road, and the witness says the road appears to be acting as a fire barrier.

There is no word yet on what may have sparked the blaze.


UPDATE: 1:45 p.m.

The fire is estimated at two hectares in size and appears to be burning in grassland close to the highway.

A helicopter was seen circling the area, and the Wildfire Service is said to be sending in an airtanker.


ORIGINAL: 1:40 p.m.

There are reports of a grass fire burning off Highway 33, near Gallagher Road, in the Black Mountain area.

Kelowna fire crews are responding to the fire.

As well, the fire department has asked for help from a BC Forest Service crew.

Castanet will update when more information becomes available.



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