UPDATE: West Kelowna Fire Rescue says the cause of Tuesday’s lakeside fire near Old Ferry Wharf Road is undetermined.
On Thursday, fire chief Jason Brolund said “investigators were able to pinpoint the area of origin within the RV unit, but were challenged further with the level of destruction due to several propane tanks which caused extensive burning in that area.”
Brolund added the fire is not deemed suspicious.
He also said with the heat of summer now here, the region’s fire danger rating will be steadily increasing each day.
Brolund is asking residents to be vigilant with any form of heat or sparks, and to report any fire or smoke to 911 immediately.
“We also urge the public to prepare for the heat,” he said, “and take care of each other as temperatures continue to rise.”
Thick, black smoke could be seen rising from the fire, which was located along a thin stretch of land between a steep bank and the shores of Okanagan Lake.
Shortly before 3 p.m., West Kelowna Fire Rescue (WKFR) was called to an RV unit on fire in the campsites near Old Ferry Wharf Road on Westbank First Nation.
That area is heavily occupied by seasonal campers during spring, summer and early fall.
Responding crews found a fully involved RV, with the fire spreading to an adjacent unit and grass surrounding the area.
“When our crews arrived, the fire had spread to a second RV as well as to the grass climbed up the hill,” said West Kelowna fire chief, Jason Brolund. “There’s a lot of tall, dry grass and a lot of slopes and the wind picked the fire up and drove it right up to the top of the hill.”
The blaze was estimated to be three hectares in size. WKFR received marine help from the Kelowna Fire Department and North Westside Fire Rescue.
“Both these units were crucial in pumping lake water uphill to stop the further spread of the fire,” said Brolund.
BC Wildfire was on scene with nine ground personnel and one helicopter, which helped contain the flames.
“We had initially evacuated approximately six homes. We tactically evacuated them, because if the fire were to travel any further they would be at risk,” said Brolund, adding fire crews were digging a fireguard around the fire.
“Our crews were able to stop the fire within about 100 metres of the closest home.”
Just after 4 p.m., West Kelowna RCMP issued a press release asking the public to stay away from the area.
“On behalf of the responding agencies, West Kelowna RCMP request the public avoid the area near Old Ferry Wharf Road, just north of the Bennett Bridge,” said police. “In particular, it is requested marine traffic stay away from the area.”
Brolund says there were no injuries and that an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the blaze.