July 13, 2018 3:50 pm
Updated: July 13, 2018 7:10 pm

Possible forest inferno thwarted by RCMP member

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A police officer prevented what could have been a massive forest fire in the Okanagan this morning.

West Kelowna RCMP say they received a call shortly after 6 a.m. today of a burning truck on a forest service road. The responding police officer found the vehicle approximately 5.5 kilometres along Bear Lake Main Forest Service Road, fully engulfed in flames and down an embankment.

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The burning truck produced intense flames, and fire began spreading into what police called tinder-dry surroundings. The officer emptied his vehicle’s fire extinguisher to prevent the fire from spreading.

Police say forestry wildfire officials were notified, as the fire was outside of the local municipality fire protection area.

READ MORE: Wildfire danger rating on the rise in British Columbia

Though fire season is underway, a burning truck down an embankment on a forest service road, kilometres away from anything, is not a normal fire call.

“When we arrived on scene, we saw a mixture of rank two and rank three fire behavior at the bottom,” said B.C. Wildfire Service firefighter Braydon Kellett. “We’d seen a vehicle that had run off the road and that was the ignition source.”

Kellett was one of three firefighters dispatched to the scene. When they arrived, two RCMP members were already on site, checking the vehicle and ensuring public safety.

READ MORE: Kamloops man says fire investigators looking into contract work as cause of massive blaze

Kellett said to help completely douse the fire, the firefighting truck they used was equipped with 300 gallons of water and an inch-and-a-half hose.

“We’re starting to see more (fire) starts more often,” said Kellett. “Just a note to all the public to be aware out there: Be safe, make sure all your campfires are out.”

The burned truck is white GMC Sierra pickup, though investigators have yet to confirm a registered owner. Anyone with any information is asked to contact West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880.

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