The fire expanded while burning the pine needles and an Oregon grape bush
(Cameron McMillan/ Submitted )

Lightning causes fire on Kelowna farm

McMillan Farms also had to battle flood waters earlier this year

Lightning struck a tree causing a fire to erupt on McMillan Farms during Monday evening’s storm.

The power had gone out and the McMillan family was watching the storm progress from their candle-lit living room when Ron McMillan saw a commotion outside the window.

A couple had been driving by when they noticed flames coming from a hilltop on the McMillan property. They immediately called 911 and rushed over to notify the family.

The fire department was already on its way when McMillan made it to the top of the steep hill, armed with a shovel and a fire extinguisher.

For 10 long minutes, he managed the blaze by himself until firetrucks could begin to douse the flames.

“It was a race against the clock,” said McMillan.

The dry pine needles ignited quickly and spread the fire to a neighbouring Okanagan Grape bush.

Thankfully, McMillan knows how to manage fire.

“A lot of farmers have experience with fire.”

After three trucks and six firefighters extinguished the blaze, it was evident that lightning was to blame.

An area of approximately 20 by 20 feet was scorched by fire.

The bark had “exploded off” the large pine tree.

There were many other lightning strikes in the area, along Mission Creek, near Spiers Rd., that the family had witnessed before the tree was hit.

In June, the McMillan farm flooded during the period of heavy rain.

McMillan Farms has been in operation since 1950, however, the frequency and magnitude of the flooding year-over-year is like nothing the area has experienced before.


@Rangers_mom
Jacqueline.Gelineau@kelownacapnews.com

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