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Vernon  

Possibly human caused

UPDATE 4:55 P.M.

A small crew of firefighters will remain at the fire scene overnight, watching for any hot spots that might flare up.

Vernon Fire Rescue Chief Keith Green said there have been hot spots flaring up throughout the day, but the situation is well under control and crews are dousing the hotspots as quickly as they arise.

“Every time the wind picks up, it shows some hot spots,” said Green Sunday afternoon.

The fire was held 1.5 km away from the nearest homes, but several people were evacuated as a precaution due to the aggressive behaviour of the fire.

Tackling the fire was a challenge for crews.

“If you saw some of the terrain these guys had to climb in the pitch black to lay out 1,000 feet of line, it was crazy. The did a great job,” said Green adding no one was hurt.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and the BC Wildfire Service is reporting the fire was likely human cause.

Two investigators are currently on the scene.


UPDATE JULY 31: 7:30 a.m.

The evacuation order for a wildfire above Vernon's Adventure Bay neighbourhood has been rescinded.

The fire is still smouldering Sunday morning about one kilometre north of Adventure Bay. 

Roads have reopened and Vernon fire chief Keith Green says all displaced residents are being advised they can return home.

Fortunately, no structures were affected by this fire.

“We have the fire contained, but are still mopping up,” says Green.

“We are working with the Ministry of Forests to possibly get a few bucket drops to help with mop-up as the terrain is very difficult to access.”

As of midnight, 20 people had registered at the reception centre and can now all return home. 


UPDATE JULY 30: 11:53 P.M.

The BC Forest Service is sending in reinforcements to fight a wildfire above Vernon's Adventure Bay neighbourhood.

Twenty firefighters and a response officer will join about two dozen members of Vernon Fire Rescue on the fire line, according to Max Birkner, fire information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre.

Birkner said the crew was requested by the Vernon fire department.

“We've got a rank three fire on about an acre,” said Vernon fire chief Keith Green, around 11:40 p.m. Saturday night. “The terrain has been difficult to access and we've seen some candling in the trees.

“Forestry is arriving shortly to get more boots on the ground.”

Green said about 60 residents in the area around the fire had been evacuated.

“I've had calls from some of these residents and they are concerned and alarmed at how fast the fire grew,” said Green.

Green said the fire appeared to be moving away from the structures, although crews were certainly on guard in case it changed direction.

“We're getting water on it now."

He said there would be no air support in the darkness.

“We will re-evaluate at first light,” Green said.


UPDATE: 11:30 P.M.

Vernon city councillor Dalvir Nahal is among a group of Adventure Bay residents who were evacuated from their homes on Saturday night.

Nahal said sirens were heard around 9 p.m. and she caught a whiff of smoke in the air about ten minutes later.

“Then within another 20 minutes, it had engulfed the hillside,” Nahal said. “Everyone was told to go. The police were going door to door and telling people to leave.”

Nahal said police had closed off Tronson Road and the Tavistock development on the upper section of the Adventure Bay neighbourhood.

“I just spoke with the fire chief and he told they were having a hard time getting to the fire.”

Nahal had been entertaining a group of people, many of whom were staying from out of town when the evacuation order came.

“We're all at my parents now,” she said.


UPDATE: 11 P.M.

An evacuation of residents is reported to be underway as a wildfire continues to grow on the west side of Okanagan Lake in Vernon.

There has been no official word from the RCMP although people along Tronson Road, in Okanagan Landing report seeing dozens of residents leaving the Adventure Bay neighbourhood. 

"There is a constant stream of evacuees leaving the area," said one eye witness. "There have been about 100 cars that have left so far."


ORIGINAL

Vernon Fire Rescue crews are on the scene of a wildfire just above Vernon's Adventure Bay neighbourhood, on the west side of Okanagan Lake.

According to Facebook posts, some residents in the area have been evacuated, including city councillor Dalvir Nahal.

"We've just been told to pack up and leave," said Nahal in a post around 10 p.m.

According to one eye witness, the fire quadrupled in size in about an hour.

"It has been spreading quite vigorously," said Rebecca Schire, who lives on the opposite side of the lake. "There's no way of fighting it, although there is a forestry road up there that almost reaches the area."

"It seems to be burning up the hill, away from the residences but I can see trees candling," said Simeon Kenbel, from his vantage point.

However Schire said the fire was moving in a number of directions.

Castanet will update with details as they become available.



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