West Kelowna  

Hwy 97 fire knocked down

UPDATE: 6:50 a.m.

A wildfire that started Saturday evening near the Highway 97-Okanagan Connector interchange is being called suspicious in nature.

West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund says investigators from the RCMP, BC Wildfire Service and West Kelowna Fire Rescue are working to determine its cause.

First arriving crews from the Westbank station found a fire approximately 150x50 feet in size burning in the grass and trees that was being driven uphill by strong winds. 

Additional fire crews from Glenrosa, Lakeview Heights and Rose Valley responded in support. The BC Wildfire Service also provided multiple ground crews. Firefighters from both agencies were able to construct a fire guard around the fire and knock down the fire inside the guard Saturday night.

No homes were threatened and no evacuations were required. Crews established a division in the Glenrosa area to patrol and ensure the fire did not spread into that area.

Firefighters from WKFR and BC Wildfire remained on scene overnight period and will patrol the fire today to ensure it is fully extinguished.

Brolund thanked the public for their quick reporting of this fire to 911.

UPDATE: 10:10 p.m.

The fire is now classified as "being held" according to BC Wildfire Service. 

It has responded well to suppression efforts from fire crews. 

UPDATE: 9:26 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service has put out a bulletin indicating the fire near Highways 97 and 97C is "Out of Control."

It is estimated at 0.6 hectares in size. Eight BCWS personnel are on the scene, along with crews from the West Kelowna Fire Department. 

They say the fire may be visible from Highway 97C and surrounding areas. 

UPDATE: 8:30 p.m.

West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund has confirmed around 20 of his firefighters as well as many more from BC Wildfire Service are on the scene of a blaze just off Highway 97 near the 97C junction Saturday night. 

"We believe that we are making good progress with the fire," Brolund said.

He said he could not provide an accurate update as to the size of the blaze. 

The fire is highly visible from surrounding areas, putting up plumes of smoke.

ORIGINAL: 7:50 p.m.

Reports indicate a small grass fire has sparked off Highway 97 near the Highway 97C junction. 

Castanet reader Daniel Schwab was driving through the area around 7:40 p.m.

"We couldn't see any flames, but the smoke source was pretty close to the highway," he said. "We came around the corner and there were a couple of police cars, and they were trying to walk up the access road so they could get up there."

As they drove further toward Kelowna, they saw four fire vehicles, two large trucks and two smaller vehicles, heading in the direction of the smoke. 

Castanet has reached out to authorities for more information. 

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