What caused a small wildfire that started Saturday evening near Highway 97 and Highway 97C is under investigation.
Fire chief Jason Brolund said when firefighters arrived around 7:30 p.m. the fire was roughly 150 feet by 50 feet and “was being driven uphill by strong winds.”
Municipal fire crews along with the B.C. Wildfire Service kept the blaze to well under a hectare. No homes were ever at risk, Brolund added.
Brolund called the blaze suspicious in an emailed statement to media on Saturday evening and said his department, police and the provincial wildfire service are investigating the cause.
However, in an interview on Sunday, Brolund was less definitive about the cause, saying the fire is being treated as suspicious untilthe investigation concludes.
“We don’t believe that there was any lightning in the area so that, in our eyes, makes the fire human caused. Just whether it was accidental or suspicious is what we are working to rule in or out today,” Brolund said.
Brolund said the fire was about a kilometer from the highway along a natural gas right-of-way, but noted it didn’t involve any of the utility company’s infrastructure.
“It was a little bit of a hike into the bush for the fire crews but we were able to get around it and get pretty decent access,” Brolund said.
The blaze has been extinguished but fire crews will return to the site periodically on Sunday to check for any flare ups.
Brolund thanked the public for calling in the fire quickly.
“At this time of year, if you see smoke where it should not be, please report it,” Brolund said.
WATCH (July 8, 2019): The investigation into a fire at a West Kelowna fiveplex has been turned over to the RCMP
– with files from Danny Seymour