BX-Swan Lake Fire Department, Vernon Fire Rescue Services called to separate grass fires

RCMP investigate grass fire

UPDATE 5:42 p.m.

At approximately 3:20 p.m., Vernon Fire Rescue Services was dispatched to a report of a grass fire in the 4700-block of 31st Street, along the railway tracks.

The fire was approximately 20-feet by 40-feet and was extinguished quickly by crews once they arrived.

No injuries were reported in the incident and no structures were impacted.

The fire was confirmed to be human caused.

The investigation is with the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP, who were also on scene.

ORIGINAL 4:06 p.m.

Grass fire season has begun.

BX-Swan Lake firefighters were called to a grass fire on L&A Road Thursday afternoon.

Fire Chief Bill Wacey says a resident was burning brush on his property, “turned his back on it for about two minutes, and the wind picked up and the fire took off up upslope and downslope.”

Wacey says conditions are drier that usual and he urges caution for anyone doing any sort of burning.

“The neighbours are talking about how incredibly dry it is already,” says Wacey. “We've really had no precipitation since the last snowfall, and we have had no rain whatsoever, so things are drying up.”

There may still be snow on the mountains, but Wacey says the valley bottom “is drying up real fast.”

Brush fires at this time of year are not unheard of, and Wacey says crews were called to several such fires in March 2021, the year of the White Rock Lake wildfire that burned tens of thousands of hectares and dozens of structures.

“The way the weather is changing climate wise, we're drying out and we are not getting the precipitation we normally do,” he said, adding that things have been getting busier since 2017.

And, just as BX fire crews were leaving that grass fire, Vernon Fire Rescue Services were called to another one.

Castanet has reached out to the city for more information on that fire.

On Wednesday, the Coldstream Fire Department was also called to a brush fire in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. That fire has been deemed suspicious.

Coldstream Fire Chief Fiona Morgenthaler-Code says crews were dispatched shortly before 4 p.m. for multiple reports of smoke in the area of the park's Red Gate.

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