Kalamoir Park fire raises alarm in the Central Okanagan

Residents and tourists alike can thank a well-honed fire response for saving homes and holidays from another scary summer of fire

  • Jul. 22, 2013 3:00 p.m.
An all too familiar scene

An all too familiar scene

There is a possibility life will return to normal in Kalamoir Regional Park Tuesday when the last section of forest re-opens to the public.

Saturday evening, it’s postulated a flare from a boat ignited a steep, rugged area below Weatherhill Road in the park, placing five homeowners on “tactical evacuation” and sending the rest of Kelowna and West Kelowna into alert mode as one of the first significant forest fires of the year kicked into gear in a highly populated area.

“There were several eyewitness reports of fireworks being used in or near the park,” said a news release issued Sunday morning by Darren Lee, assistant fire chief with West Kelowna Fire Rescue.

By Monday morning, speculation had it there may have been a boat flare from somewhere in the Casa Loma region, directly beside the bridge, that landed in the park’s brush—a mixture of coniferous forest and ecologically sensitive grasslands punctuated by popular running trails and beaches.

No matter the cause, the message to tourists and residents enjoying he 30 C-plus heat of the coming week is cautionary.

“It’s extremely dry and the fire hazard remains high. If not for the quick response by West Kelowna and B.C. Wildfire Management fire crews last night, this could have been much worse than it was,” said Bruce Smith, regional district communications officer, in a news release issued Sunday.

The incident brought career and paid-on-call city firefighters out from Lakeview Heights, Westbank, Rose Valley and Glenrosa when it was initially called in at 7:44 p.m. Saturday evening and they were soon joined by seven wildland firefighters, RCMP, paramedics, an air tanker and helicopter.

Last week, a tractor trailer descending from Brenda Mines into Peachland sent fire crews into forest fire mode with concerns the truck, which burst into flames on the side of the road, would set the grassy hillside ablaze.

The very first forest fire of the year for the region happened early in the spring in Lake Country when a burn pile got out of control causing a grassfire in April.

Twitter: @jaswrites

Kelowna Capital News