It took members of the Kelowna Fire Department less than 15 minutes to put out a half-acre fire in Mission Creek Park Friday afternoon.
Ten firefighters and three engines responded to a report of smoke near the Springfield and Ziprick Road entrance of Mission Creek Park around 1:30 p.m.
Laurie Serres, platoon captain with the fire department, said the assumption at this point is the fire was human-caused. He added there is a “good chance” it was the result of a discarded cigarette; although, crews have yet to find any evidence to support that.
“Once the guys got here, (the fire was put out) within 10 to 15 minutes. Springfield was shut down so they could get a lot of water on it in a quick period of time—that made a big difference right there.
“And there was no wind. If it had been like yesterday, we would’ve been chasing it up the other side.”
Mike Roche, parks senior operator with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, was one of the first to notice the smoke coming from the park.
He was bringing supplies to staff members at the main entrance of Mission Creek Park when he noticed smoke coming from the blaze.
“I didn’t know if it was a house or what was happening. I quickly dropped off the supplies…I went across the creek to check things out.
“A pine tree was starting to burn at the base and working its way up. The fire (was) spreading slowly because (there was) no wind. Then it hit a brush pile in the back and started getting a little worse—that’s when I heard sirens coming.”
While Roche waited for fire crews to arrive he and another man blocked off the area to give firefighters easy access to the blaze.
He also looked for potential culprits; however, Roche said he didn’t see anyone suspicious.
With more hot weather in the forecast, the parks operator said the Regional District may close off a portion of the park.
“What we’ve done in the past when the weather gets really hot and the park starts drying out (is) close the park on the south side of Mission Creek.”