Naramata grass fire

UPDATE 4:20 P.M. 

Fire crews were on scene cleaning up a small grass fire, north of Naramata, around 2:30 p.m., Monday.

Forest Protection Tech with Penticton Fire Zone Randy Burgess spoke to Castanet at the scene of the fire off Chute Lake Road.

“We got the call and we took a look out the window and you could smoke billowing actually from the zone office. We called the air tankers and we called a couple of crews to come out,” says Burgess.

By the time forestry crews arrived, members of the general public were helping battle the small fire, ranging from .1 to .2 hectares in size, which Burgess says they are grateful for.

Tim Krestensen, vineyard manager with Mission Hill Family Estate, said a crew from Mission Hill Family Estate Winery at the ranch vineyard was first on scene, along with subcontractors from Team Construction.

"Luckily we have a water truck here as part of the construction, so when we saw the smoke we were up there in a flash," he said. "We contained it by using the water truck, shovels and fire extinguishers, before the water bombers and forestry were there. There was initial concern because we saw it had the potential to get out of control. If we didn't have the water truck on site, it could have been a different story."

Krestensen and other neighbours said it was worrying to have a fire like this early in the summer. Some made reference to the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.

"It was just boiling up real close and was very scary," said Marne Kelly, a resident of Indian Rock Road, who was at the scene, along with her husband.

 The air tanker dropped retardant three times and by late in the afternoon, forestry crews were mopping up the under control fire.

“It is a roadside fire and we highly suspect it would be human caused, but it is still under investigation,” added Burgess.

Reporter Deborah Pfeiffer, contributed to story


Contributed Evan Alexander

ORIGINAL - A small grass fire has broken out among the trees north of Naramata.

The fire started around 2:30 p.m., at this time the cause is unknown, but BC Wildfire Control said they suspect it is human caused.

Two initial attack crews of three people each are on scene fighting the .1 to .2 hectare fire. Two aircraft are also helping out. 

Naramata Fire Department said they are also responding.

One of two planes has dumped retardant on the flames. 

More to come.


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