West Kelowna  

Careless fire the cause?

UPDATE: 9:32 p.m.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, the blaze at Blue Grouse Mountain is being held at 2 ha., meaning the fire is not expected to grow larger than it currently is.

UPDATE: 4:20 p.m.

Shawn Lafond stumbled upon the beginning of the Westside Road wildfire at 12:20 p.m, when it was about 50 square metres and growing.

Lafond and a friend noticed smoke while driving by on their way to Fintry, and called 911 when they saw flames. 

"There was a tent and a fire pit, for a small campfire, but then it looked like they had a spot where they had a bonfire above it," Lafond said. "It looked like maybe they had a bigger fire throughout the night and then let that log smoulder or something."

He said a man who lived in the neighbourhood came up after fire crews had arrived and told him there had been people camping in the area for about three weeks. None of the campers were in the area when Lafond arrived. 

Lafond said the tent was full of belongings, but it's not known if the owners have returned.

The fire continues to burn an area of 2.5 hectares, and the BC Wildfire Service has now classified it as "held," meaning it is no longer growing. 

Five air tankers continue to drop water on the blaze, along with 26 BC Wildfire Service firefighters on the ground.

Two fire investigators are on scene. The BC Wildfire Service has not yet released an official cause of the fire, but Lafond says it was pretty clear to him what had happened. 

UPDATE: 3:10 p.m.

The fire on Westside Road is now 2.5 hectares in size, as two helicopters and four airplanes fight the blaze from above and dozens of firefighters fight it from the ground.

Max Birkner, fire information officer, says 26 BC Wildfire Service firefighters are fighting the blaze, alongside firefighters from the West Kelowna and Wilson's Landing fire departments. 

Wind in the area has caused the fire to burn up the mountain, away from the road.

The burn area appears to have started near a tent and fire pit. 

Shawn Laford posted several pictures of the start of the burn to the Shop and Swap Facebook group.

"Anyone know who is camping on Westside Road?" he wrote. "They just left a campfire and have now started a forest fire."

While Birkner says he has heard speculation about a campfire starting the burn, he says the cause is still under investigation.

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

A helicopter is now on scene, bucketing water from Okanagan Lake onto the fire.

UPDATE 1:25 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service is responding to the forest fire burning on along Westside Road north of Trader's Cove.

The fire is near Blue Grouse Mountain.

Fire information officer Max Birkner says the fire is less than a hectare in size.

"The fire is in full response right now, which means we have six firefighters, one response officer and an air tanker responding to the fire at this time," said Birkner.

While a campsite and campfire pit can be seen near where the fire is burning, Birkner said the cause is still officially under investigation.

Castanet has a reporter on the scene and will provide updates as they become available.

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

Fire crews and police are on the scene of a wildfire burning above Westside Road.

Two tanker trucks have arrived, and fire crews say a water bomber has been dispatched and should be on scene within 10 minutes. The fire appears to spreading uphill.

A rough campsite appears to be the starting point of the fire.

UPDATE: 1:10 p.m.

A witness near the scene said they saw someone making a campfire before the fire broke out.

ORIGINAL: 12:45 p.m.

From floods to fires.

Fire crews are responding to a wildfire on Westside Road, just north of Trader's Cove.

Crews were notified of the fire, located near 635 Westside Road, just before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Smoke from the blaze could be clearly seen from downtown Kelowna.

The size of the fire is unknown at this time, but pictures from the area show large flames burning amongst the trees.

The cause of the fire is unknown.  

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