Fire crews respond to brush fire on McCoubrey Plateau

Lake Country crews knock down brush fire, warn of problems with open burning

Lake Country fire crews responded to a brush fire in the McCoubrey Plateau area of Lake Country Sunday night as wind sparked a controlled burn that had been taking place a few weeks ago.

Ten firefighters were called out after 9 p.m. Sunday when a resident noticed a fire on private land in a wooded area of McCoubrey Plateau.

Fire chief Steve Windsor said the land-owner had previously been burning old pine beetle trees in the area and had buried a burn pile, but the blaze continued to simmer underground until the wind caused it to light up again.

“It was three or four week old burn pile but the wind came up and it got back up to about a half acre and into some very tangled and dead pine beetle trees,” said Windsor. “It was so high up that no one noticed. If it had taken a hold up there it would have been a real chore but we caught it early and put in a fire guard.”

Open burning in the Central Okanagan is normally allowed through the month of April, before the land dries out and becomes too dangerous for controlled burns. The Central Okanagan Regional District, together with area fire departments, will make the decision on when open burning is done for the year and Windsor says this fire is an indication of just how dry things can get.

“It dries out very quickly so people at this time of the year have to be very careful,” he said. “If we continue to get controlled burns that get away then a decision will have to be made. We try to play it day by day at this time of the year but if we get a stretch of warm weather the fire departments and the regional district will have to make a decision.”

Sunday’s brush fire took place on a 10 acre piece of private land.