West Kelowna  

'You have to leave now'

Alanna Kelly

Residents living below Mission Hill Winery only had minutes to pack up their belongs and leave after a grass fire rapidly spread towards homes.

A five hectare fire on Mount Boucherie was just 100 metres away from homes on Gala View Drive, but firefighters' quick action stopped any structures from being damaged.

A couple living just metres away from the fire said a woman came running down the hill shouting a fire was coming and that they had to leave now.

“There was ash and this plume of garbage,” said the homeowner. “I wasn’t going over there.”

People came rushing down the mountain as the couple quickly packed up their belongings and jumped in their car.

“I got the car on the street and the fire chief was here saying 'you have to get out now,'” he said. “We had less than five minutes.”

West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund said he believes the fire started at the bottom of the hill off Boucherie Road.

“There are no official hiking trails, but it is certainly an area well used by people,” said Brolund.

Brolund said there were signs of human activities in the area, including campfire pits, garbage and debris, but the exact cause of the fire could not be determined.

"The fire is considered suspicious and the RCMP will continue to pursue the investigation," he said.

Fifteen firefighters are at the scene Sunday, working to make sure the fire doesn’t go anywhere.

A water line has been secured around the perimeter of the fire and crews will work to put out hot spots.

“People should be assured we have the fire surrounded and we’ll be dealing with those,” he said.

Brolund noted he is very proud of the firefighters and how they contained the fire.

“They had a very difficult job hiking up from the bottom of Boucherie with hose lines,” he said. “It’s because of their hard work that we are able to say today no homes were lost, no businesses damaged, nobody injured.”

BC Wildfire Service and West Kelowna fire responded to the fire along with an air tanker that took images of the fire.

The public is being asked to report any smoke or fire coming from the area and anyone with information about the fire is being asked to contact RCMP.

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