Firefighters fought to keep the fire from reaching homes along Westwood Drive in West Bench Thursday morning. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News)

West Bench fire fully out

Only one house saw any major damage done to its roof after a hot ember landed on it

The Penticton Fire Department now considers the West Bench bush fire to be completely out at this point, though they’re holding off pulling all resources at this point.

Deputy fire chief Chris Forster said crews were largely relieved from the blaze at around 2 p.m., while a bare-bones crew continued to spray water on the area to keep it damp.

“We are going to maintain having crews there until at least 8 o’clock tomorrow morning, just as precautionary,” Forster said.

“Between all the crews, we’ve managed, fortunately, to save it before it got to any structures — it got really close, within about 20 feet of one of the structures, but we got a handle on it really quick.”

Related: Firefighters battling fire on West Bench

Just because it’s currently believed to be out at this point, firefighters say they’re keeping an eye to ensure nothing springs up.

“We did a guard right around, and then basically we just follow it right through, right from one end, again, to the other, to make sure that we get all the hot spots, etc.,” he said.

“The only thing is you never know how far it burns down, into the ground. In our opinion, at this point, it’s out.”

Just one home saw significant damage, with an ember landing on the cedar shake roofing of the home, while another had a minor blaze on its roof, according to firefighters.

The first house only saw damage to the roof, and firefighters had to hack through to ensure the fire didn’t spread within the house.

Related: Penticton bush fire became “massive” from large, dead trees

Forster noted another homeowner at the end of the cul-de-sac, who also had wooden shingles, whose home may have been saved by the sprinklers and hoses he’d had running over his roof.

“He actually told us that he thought about a week, he’d had those up for about a week. He just had in the back of his mind, thinking it’s been a few years, it’s been super, super hot,” he said.

Though the homeowner didn’t have the sprinklers running at the time of the fire, a contractor doing stone work at the place was on hand at the time the fire sparked, and turned all the hoses and sprinklers on.

“He, all of a sudden, smelled a lot of smoke, went around the back, saw all the flames, and so, first thought was, ‘hey, turn all those sprinklers on,’” Forster said.

Related: Williams Lake couple leaves fate of home in Mother Nature’s hands


@dustinrgodfrey
dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com
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