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UPDATE: Vernon crews tackle wildfire in Foothills

BX Swan Lake and Vernon Fire Rescue Services crews knock down, hold fire

Crews from Vernon Fire Rescue Services and the BX Swan Lake Volunteer Fire Department quickly got a leg up on a wildfire in the Foothills subdivision.

Both agencies responded to a report of a wildfire in the bush on a no-thru road off Sun Peaks Drive and Silver Ridge Drive. The call came in shortly before 1 p.m. and the wildfire was extinguished by about 1:30 p.m.

VFRS Chief David Lind said the fire “has been knocked down and is being held” shortly after crews’ arrival.

BX Fire Chief Bill Wacey said his crew was just wrapping up another call in the area on East Vernon Road when the report of smoke coming from the Foothills came in.

Wacey said a 20 by 40-metre stretch of fire was burning when crews arrived.

He said with an abundance of flammable materials in the burned area and houses in the area, it was fortunate the wind wasn’t stronger.

“It was up underneath the pine trees there with a huge pile of pine cones and needles, and so it certainly had some big potential for something to go off if the wind had been stronger.”

Wacey said his team alerted BC Wildfire Service to the blaze, as is protocol for this time of year, and a helicopter with a bucket was ready to go if needed.

It didn’t come to that, however, as crews extinguished the blaze in about 20 minutes.

“We actioned it and put it out and we’re just doing an investigation now. (It was) close but we managed to sustain it pretty good.”

BX/Swan Lake crews arrived first and actioned the blaze wit has many as 13 firefighters on hand, and VFRS responded shortly after with a full shift.

The terrain was difficult, as the fire was located about 800 feet up a steep incline. Crews were also wearing their turnout gear from the previous call, making it “a bit more strenuous” to get to the fire, Wacey said.

Crews are now using a thermal imaging camera to comb the area for hot spots.

Wacey pointed out the hot and dry weather of late has resulted in a high risk of wildfires early in the season.

“The hotter it keeps getting and with the lack of rain that’s forecast, we could be in for a busy summer.”

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

READ MORE: Rising Shuswap River forces closure of Enderby park, boat launch

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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