Morning Star readers, either passing by the scene or stuck in traffic when the road closed, took out their phones and shot photos of the effort to battle a grass fire south of Vernon Labour Day Monday.
The City of Vernon issued a release late Monday, Sept. 7, saying the BC Wildfire Service is responding to what’s being called the Westridge Road wildfire, approximately 10 kilometres south of Vernon on Highway 97.
At the time, the fire was estimated to be 35 hectares in size but the BC Wildfire website Monday evening estimated the size at 25 hectares.
Ground crews were on-site along with aerial support and the assistance of Vernon Fire Rescue Services.
Highway 97 was closed most of Monday afternoon but DriveBC said on its Twitter site the road reopened fully to all traffic Monday at around 7 p.m. Boaters were asked Monday afternoon to stay clear of the Kekuli Bay area on Kalamalka Lake to allow the aircrafts to fill up with water.
— AIMRoads (@AimRoads) September 8, 2020
The cause of the fire is under investigation though it’s believed a pickup truck carrying a travel trailer caught fire, pulled off the highway and sparked the blaze.
The fire was not threatening structures; however, it was producing smoke that is visible from Highway 97 and surrounding communities.