West Kelowna  

Fire out, not suspicious

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 7:25 p.m.

Fire investigators are deeming Wednesday evening's grass fire beside Highway 97 between West Kelowna and Peachland not suspicious, and its cause undetermined. 

Assistant Fire Chief Chad Gartrell says this was a typical low-lying valley fire for this time of year.

"With the long grasses from last year’s growing season, coupled with a few days of warmer weather drying out the finer fuels, we may start to see more fires like these in the valley bottom," he said in a press release after the fire was extinguished.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue and Peachland firefighters responded to the fire about 4:30 p.m.

When crews arrived, the fire was a Rank 2 ground fire being pushed by the wind and beginning to climb into ladder fuels. 

"Crews were able to extinguish the fire front quickly, ensuring the fire remained inside the median between the highway and the off-ramp," he added. 

Crews remained on scene to extinguish hot spots and cut a hand guard around the fire perimeter.

Many cigarette butts were found along the shoulder of the highway, he noted.

UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.

RCMP are directing traffic as fire crews from West Kelowna and Peachland work to extinguish a grass fire beside Highway 97.

Shortly before 5 p.m., a Central Okanagan Traffic Services RCMP member first noticed the fire near the Highway 97 C interchange. 

Images from the scene show the fire is now mostly out.

Northbound traffic into West Kelowna is reduced to a single lane to allow emergency crews space to work.

Motorists are asked for their patience.

UPDATE: 5:20 p.m.

Reader video from the scene shows the fire is smouldering in grass and brush beside Highway 97.

West Kelowna firefighters are on scene, and police are directing traffic, which is heavily backed up.

The fire appears to be in the triangle of land between Highway 97 and the Connector off ramp.

ORIGINAL: 4:50 p.m.

A grass fire is burning in between Peachland and West Kelowna.

Flames can be seen in the treed area between the northbound lanes of Highway 97 and the Okanagan Connector off ramp.

Castanet is sending a reporter to the scene.

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