UPDATED: 12:30 P.M.
Following an investigation by West Kelowna Fire Rescue and the RCMP, officials say the origin of Saturday night’s fire near Mission Hill Winery is considered suspicious.
The fire appears to have started off a trail above Boucherie Road, according to West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund.
There were signs of human activities in the area, including campfire pits and garbage/debris. However, the exact cause of the fire could not be determined. The fire is deemed suspicious and the RCMP will continue to pursue the investigation. The public is encouraged to contact the RCMP with any information that may help.
Crews from WKFR and the BC Wildfire Service will remain on scene this afternoon, extinguishing the remaining hot spots. The public may notice sprinklers and hose lines that have been left in place as well as ongoing firefighting activity in the vicinity. The public is asked to report any signs of smoke or fire.
This will be the final update on this fire unless conditions change.
The public is reminded that current weather conditions have pushed our fire danger rating into the “high” category. As we saw last night, fires can start and spread quickly under these conditions. Please be responsible with sources of ignition including campfires and smoking materials.
UPDATED: 9 A.M.
The Boucherie fire was quiet overnight and firefighters continued suppression and mop-up activities, while evacuees have returned home.
The estimated size of the fire remains five hectares.
“A fire guard now surrounds the perimeter of the fire. Smoke and flame may be visible and crews from West Kelowna Fire Rescue and the BC Wildfire Service will be working today to put out hot spots within the fire area,” said West Kelwona fire chief Jason Brolund.
“No structures were damaged and there were no injuries reported.”
There are no evacuation orders or evacuation alerts in place.
The investigation into the cause of the fire will be ongoing today, with Fire Investigators on scene this morning.
UPDATE 10 P.M.
BC Wildfire Service is now assisting West Kelowna Fire department with the Mt. Boucherie blaze that started just before 7 p.m. Saturday.
Fire information officer Brenna Ward said the provincial service deployed 10 personnel to assist with suppression. Initially they sent in air support as well, but planes were called off upon arrival due to diminished fire activity.
Ward said the fire is mapped at five hectares and still considered out of control.
UPDATE 9 P.M.
Mission Hill winery and up to 50 homes in the nearby residential area have been evacuated due to a grass-fire on Mt. Boucherie.
“The fire was driven by the wind, as we see on these Okanagan evenings,” said West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund, who noted that 30 firefighters from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Westbank and Peachland were working to knock back hotspots and establish a water perimetre.
“When the wind knocks down we make great progress and when it gets up we’re chasing the fire,” he said.
Brolund said he doesn’t have an estimate on the size of the fire at this time or know what may have caused it.
BC Wildfire air support has arrived. Boucherie Road near the fire has been closed.
UPDATE: 8:35 P.M.
It looks as though firefighters have gained the upper hand.
The fire is currently burning above Boucherie Road and Pritchard Drive, moving slowly north. Witnesses on the ground say it looks as though firefighters have gained control of the situation, and that at least one department that attended the scene has been released and stay on standby at their department.
UPDATE 8 P.M.
A witness near the fire site is now saying that winds have died down and it appears as though firefighters are making good headway. Flames are less visible than they were earlier.
Smoke is rising over West Kelowna as a fire near Mission Hill burns.
The fire started at around 7 p.m. Saturday, and multiple reports indicate flames can be seen creeping up the hillside on Boucherie.
A witness to the fire said that the fire is growing as wind is picking up and several people living in the area are starting to evacuate their homes, though it’s not believed to have been ordered.
Forest fire below Mission Hill winery in West Kelowna, many homes threatened by carelessness. Let’s not forget it is forest fire season. West Kelowna and Kelowna fire and police resources on the scene pic.twitter.com/gZxnZ5bmvV
— Ben Stewart (@benstewartbc) May 27, 2018
Fire crews from multiple cities have
been dispatched and BC Wildfire Service has just received information. They will likely be dispatching air crews shortly.
More information to come.
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