Fire crews get upper hand on 2 Okanagan grassfires
Provincial firefighting resources sent to Osoyoos and Vernon
Firefighters in B.C.'s Okanagan region appear to have stopped two human-caused wildfires from growing further, just hours after the fires broke out and quickly spread over several hectares, leading to evacuation alerts and evacuation orders.
B.C.'s Wildfire Management Branch reported that the Spotted Lake fire, about 10 kilometres outside the southern Okanagan town of Osoyoos, is burning in an area called Richter Pass.
As of 8 p.m. PT on Monday, the fire had spread over 12 hectares, and 14 firefighters were on scene. By 9 p.m., the fire had spread over 20 hectares, and the response had grown to include 35 firefighters, two helicopters, and five air tankers.
Officials said the fire was burning close to homes in the area, but no structures were immediately threatened. The wildfire management branch said at 9:15 p.m. that firefighters appeared to have halted the fire's growth, and that the branch was working with officials from the regional district to return residents who were evacuated earlier in the evening back to their homes.
"The specific cause remains under investigation, but this is believed to be a person-caused wildfire," the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch said on its website.
Vernon fire sparked at landfill
In the North Okanagan, a wildfire that spread out from a Vernon landfill also drew a strong and swift response Monday.
Courtenay Pitcher, speaking for the City of Vernon, said the landfill fire began at roughly 4:30 p.m. and quickly spread out of control.
"There was a piece of machinery on fire, and it actually spewed out some particles or woodchips, or some sort of debris that was also on fire, and then it spread to the grasslands because there's heavy wind right now in Vernon," she told CBC News.
As of 8 p.m. PT, the Vernon wildfire was six hectares in size, and some residents along Clerke Road were put on evacuation alert. About an hour later, the fire was reported to be under control and was left to the city's fire department to manage.
Overall, about 50 firefighters from multiple departments had responded to the Vernon fire, along with a helicopter and crew from the provincial Wildfire Management Branch.
With files from the CBC's Emily Elias