Fire crews, BCWS make 'Good progress' on Cooney Bay grassfire Sunday

'Good progress' on fire

UPDATE 4:56 p.m.

Kamloops’ fire chief says Kamloops Fire Rescue and the BC Wildfire Service made “good progress” on a grass fire near Cooney Bay throughout Sunday.

The fire is just over six hectares in size and is currently being held. Fire Chief Ken Uzeloc said crews were attacking hotspots and smouldering areas throughout the day.

“The ground is very, very hot and so there's going to be some smouldering in some of those areas that were burned quite well,” Uzeloc said.

While he’s still waiting for an update from KFR crews, Uzeloc said crews likely wouldn’t remain on the scene of the fire overnight. He said crews will be back again in the morning to check on it.

“The edges appear to be good and out and no flare ups,” he said.

“It's all burnt material around there so we don't anticipate that it's going to spread at all from where it is.”

He said most of the area that's still the most heated is near the middle of the beach among driftwood, and smouldering may be observed depending on winds.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.

Kamloops’ fire chief says Kamloops Fire Rescue and BC Wildfire Service crews are back out at the location of a grass fire near Cooney Bay Sunday morning.

While the fire is currently being held, Fire Chief Ken Uzeloc said crews would be meeting at the location to assess the fire and work to fully extinguish it.

“We had KFR crews there throughout the night and they're back there this morning,” he said.

“They're meeting with BC Wildfire right now doing an assessment of the area to see what might be needed and then to work to try to extinguish everything.”

Uzeloc said KFR crews first responded to the blaze around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning when it was found on the beach amongst driftwood.

“They had that pretty much extinguished, and then obviously with wildfires and things like that, temperature and wind can pick them up again later. And that's exactly what happened,” Uzeloc said.

He said KFR was sent out again around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and they then requested help from the BCWS.

According to Uzeloc, winds picked up and spread the fire north, carrying it over train tracks and disrupting CN Rail’s activities.

He said KFR and BCWS used hose lines to attack the wildfire’s hotspots. BCWS also conducted "torch work" to burn away materials ahead of the fire and stop the spread.

“CN was able to get their tanker truck and their fire engine — which they call The Poseidon,” he said.

“It's some big tanks with turrets on a small little locomotive pulled train set up, and they were using that along the tracks on both sides to spray water and douse fire along there.”

Uzeloc said two BCWS helicopters that helped douse hotspots were instrumental in stopping the fire’s progress north.

“The helicopters worked for a couple hours and then the CN train came to really give us some other containments along the tracks where it was coming up the steep bank where it was difficult to access for people,” he said.

Uzeloc estimated the fire was mostly contained by around 6 p.m. Saturday night.

The fire is suspected to be human caused. He said the blaze started on the beach among driftwood where there are few natural sources that could have sparked it, and there were no reports of lightning in the area.

“Again, we want to remind people to be very, very careful. We're super dry out there,” Uzeloc said.

“We don't have a lot of precipitation and, of course, within Kamloops there are no bonfires or campfires allowed. So please, don't do it.”

ORIGINAL 6:40 a.m.

According to Kamloops' fire chief, the grass fire burning near Cooney Bay has been contained.

The six-hectare fire was sparked Friday night in the driftwood on the beach, west of Kamloops, before it spread to the nearby grassland, Fire Chief Ken Uzeloc said.

Crews from Kamloops Fire Rescue, BC Wildfire Service and CN Rail worked to douse the blaze through most of Saturday, and Uzeloc posted to social media Saturday evening to say the fire is now contained.

The BC Wildfire Service says Saturday morning that the fire is now considered "held," which means it's not expected to spread past its current boundaries. The fire is believed to be human-caused.

Helicopters were used during the fire fight, along with a firefighting train from CN Rail dubbed "Poseidon," as the fire burned near railroad tracks.

Uzeloc said KFR firefighters remained on the scene of the fire through the night.

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