Air tankers drop retardant on West Kelowna wildfire, third of the day

Residents in the Rose Valley area of West Kelowna are breathing a sigh of relief after a wildfire was quickly doused by fire crews.

“It’s always a bit nerve wracking,” Rose Valley resident Bruce Beer told Global News videographer Kelly Hayes as he walked out of the forest after inspecting the firefighting effort at the end of Rose Valley Rd. “You want to make sure that everybody gets out safely if need be.”

“We’ve been evacuated before but nothing this time. I think they got a hold of it right away.”

The B.C. Wildfire Service had an air tanker surround the fire with retardant, according to West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund.

The 100 x 200 foot, rank two and three blaze was burning in a remote, forested area which was difficult to reach, he said.

“Firefighters and apparatus from the Rose Valley, Lakeview, Westbank and Glenrosa stations hiked 800 metres uphill to the site of the fire,” Brolund said.

Firefighters encountered a ground fire that was burning through ladder fuels, which are live and dead forest materials that allow flames to climb into trees.

No homes were threatened by the blaze.

An initial investigation was not able to find how the fire was sparked.

“The cause of the fire was not able to be determined, nor was a determination if the fire was human caused,” Brolund said.

The Rose Valley wildfire was the third of the day in West Kelowna, which kept crews very busy and required support from numerous agencies.

"An extreme fire danger rating, weather conditions, including wind, have combined to challenge our fire department," Brolund said. “In all cases firefighters have responded quickly and effectively to keep the fires small and protect life and property.”

“We are grateful to our partners from the B.C. Wildfire Service who have stood alongside us and provided tremendous ground and air support today as well as all the other emergency responders who have also assisted.”

The blaze was doused and handed over to the care of the B.C. Wildfire Service, which placed the official location as Mt. Swite and number it K50667.

With lightning in the forecast, the B.C. Wildfire Service is encouraging everyone to be vigilant and report all sightings of smoke, at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cell.



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