Officials urge caution following several grass fires in the Okanagan

Click to play video: 'Grass fires spark in dry spring conditions'
Grass fires spark in dry spring conditions
In light of several grass fires in recent weeks across the Okanagan, fire officials are urging the public to be cautious especially ahead of the long weekend. As our Taya Fast reports, the most recent grass fires sparked in Penticton and Kelowna. – Apr 6, 2023

Fire officials are urging the public to be cautious amid dry spring conditions.

April 1st is officially the start of B.C.’s wildfire season, and already crews have battled several grass fires within the Kamloops Fire region.

“To date since [April 1st] we’ve had two wildfires that have burned 16 hectares,” said Kamloops Fire Centre Information Officer Melaine Bibeau.

“Just to give an example, at this time last year we also had two fires and it had burned 20 hectares. So very similar to that.”

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One of the latest grass fires was sparked near the Penticton regional airport Tuesday afternoon.

According to the city, an out-of-control burn pile is what led to the highly visible fire. Penticton fire crews were able to contain the fire within a couple of hours.

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Meanwhile, another grass fire ignited in Kelowna’s Kirschner Mountain area Thursday morning.

Crews assessed the fire to be around 75 feet by 150 feet in size and showing Rank 1 and 2 fire behaviour, on a steep incline.

“Crews quickly contained and extinguished the fire. The fire is deemed accidental and is being rechecked again this morning,” platoon captain Scott Clarke said in the press release.

“There were no injuries and no structures were impacted.”

Click to play video: 'Prescribed burn with cultural significance in Kelowna'
Prescribed burn with cultural significance in Kelowna

According to fire officials, fires are typical for this time of year due to the drier conditions.

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“For the current conditions that we’re seeing, we definitely are seeing dry valley bottom just as a result of the drought conditions from the fall and receiving very little to no precipitation so far in the spring,” said Bibeau.

Both of the latest fires are believed to be human-caused and although there are no open fire prohibitions within the Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire Service is reminding the public to stay vigilant.

“We are wanting to remind people, especially going into the long weekend, before lighting a fire please check with your local authorities as well,” said Bibeau.

“Ensure that you’re properly prepared and that you’re aware of the conditions and that you’re following local open burning regulations if you’re planning on doing any burning.”

BC Wildfire Service could not speak to what may be in store for this fire season, as a full outlook on the season to come is expected to be released next week.

Click to play video: 'Fire destroys abandoned home in Kelowna'
Fire destroys abandoned home in Kelowna



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