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Mower believed responsible for grass fire near home in South Okanagan

The Oliver Fire Department said Tuesday's grass fire was burning about 100 metres from a residence. SSteck Photography

The Oliver Fire Department managed to put out a small grass fire on Tuesday afternoon before it could spread to a nearby home.

The fire broke out at around 4 p.m., near Road 21 and Highway 97, not far from Gold Hill Winery.

“There was a house within less than 100 metres from where the fire was, so we were concerned about it spreading there or spreading further up the mountainside,” said Bob Graham, Oliver’s fire chief.

Read more: Emergency responders protect buildings, homes as wind-driven wildfire ignites near Armstrong, B.C.

Graham said a mowing machine likely caused the roughly one-hectare blaze.

“We believe a mower hit a rock and made a spark that caused the grass fire, ” said Graham.

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The Oliver Fire Department extinguished a grass fire near a home Tuesday afternoon. It was assisted by B.C. Forestry crews with the mop-up stage. Contributed

According to Graham, the fire started on the perimeter of private property and crown land. There was also concern regarding the terrain — sagebrush, grass and shrubs.

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Fire crews were also worried about weather conditions fuelling the small blaze.

“We normally get wind in the afternoon along there,” said Graham.

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Fortunately, there was only a light wind at the time.

The local fire department responded with two bush trucks, one engine and one water tender.

B.C. Forestry crews responded to assist with the mop-up stage and to check for further hot spots.

Read more: Crews called to Chilliwack, B.C., brush fire near Highway 1

Fire crews were on the scene for about two hours.

Graham said with the weather warming up, the grass fire serves as a good reminder for everyone to be careful.

“It is very, very dry,” he said. “We haven’t had any substantial rain for … I don’t know when was the last time.

“We had a little rain storm come through the other day, but it just didn’t do anything, so it is very dry out there. We have to be really really careful.”

Graham also reminded the public that opening burning for yard pruning purposes is not permitted within the regional district after April 15.

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