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Snowy hillside ignited by lightning strikes near Kelowna

Lightning strikes produced flames at the Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna June 26.
Lightning strikes produced flames at the Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna June 26. Big White Fire Department/ Global Okanagan

The Big White Fire Department jumped into action Monday afternoon after smoke was spotted on the ski hill after a lightning storm blew through.

“A passing storm cell produced several lighting strikes that hit Big White Ski Resort,” resort manager Michael J. Ballingall said.

The fires were located in the alpine near the T-Bar at Big White, a 62 km drive from Kelowna.

Trees were ablaze and smoldering when crews arrived.

The spot fires were contained to about a quarter acre, according to Ballingall.

Big White Fire Department/ Global Okanagan

“Despite snow on the ground, trees in the alpine were still dry enough to have caught on fire,” he said.

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“Please note that there is currently no smoking permitted anywhere in the alpine – including on hiking trails, or while riding on the lift – due to forest fire danger.”

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Big White fire crews remained on scene for some time to ensure the fire was completely doused.