Cheryl Weirda

Youths playing with lighter start Kelowna wildfire by accident

BC Wildfire and the Kelowna fire department are on scene of a blaze near Yates Road

After a long afternoon, fire officials say the fast-paced Yates Road wildfire is now considered under control.

The wildfire broke out shortly after 1 p.m., closing streets in the 400 block of Yates Road in Glenmore, Kelowna’s platoon captain Tim Light said.

“We received a 911 of a small fire behind a housing complex,” he said. “When we arrived the fire had advanced up the hill.”

Helicopters could be seen bucketing water over a blaze as crews scrambled to gain control. One air tanker and another helicopter were also on scene, along with a bird dog plane.

By 2 p.m., firefighters had managed to build a guard around the homes near Yates Road, to stop flames which were only 100 feet away – as the fire continued climbing the hillside toward the Wilden residential area.

“The fire was moving rapidly up the hill,” Light said.

BC Wildfire Service quickly dropped fire retardant on both the top north and south end flanks of the fire. The fire downgraded to smouldering levels in spots at about 4 p.m.

As a precautionary measure, the evacuation alert for the 933 properties in the Wilden area (access via Rio, Upper Canyon and UnionRoad) will remain in effect overnight and until further notice, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.

Two youths, playing with a lighter, were the cause of the fire.

See Kelowna Capital News’ full coverage of Friday’s fire:

UPDATE: 5 p.m.

Two youths who were playing with a lighter Friday were the cause of the fire that sparked near Yates Road. Platoon captain Tim Light said the youths were very remorseful about their actions and immediately turned themselves in.

UPDATE: 4 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre is reporting the Yates Road fire is being held.”The fire crews have determined that the fire is not likely to spread beyond existing or pre-determined boundaries unless weather conditions change, the release said.

Firefighters will continue actioning the fire through the night, the release said.

As a precautionary measure, the evacuation alert for the 933 properties in the Wilden area (access via Rio, Upper Canyon and Union Road) will remain in effect overnight and until further notice. A map showing the list of roads and properties under evacuation alert can be viewed at cordemergency.ca/map.

Residents on alert should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Some things to get ready include gathering key documents and medication, a list of key phone numbers, an evacutation plan including a plan for pets and animals, having a full tank of gas in the car and a 72-hour emergency kit. Visit cordemergency.ca/beprepared for more tips on how to get ready.

Conditions are hot and dry and there is a high to extreme fire hazard for the region.

Next update will be provided in the morning, unless conditions change.

UPDATE: 2:30 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service has made its last required retardant drop on the south end of the fast-moving fire.

The fire has downgraded to smouldering levels, and the flames previously candling in the trees have decreased significantly.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre has been activated, according to the district, as 933 properties have been place on an evacuation alert.

Firefighters will soon be entering the area to tackle hot spots.

UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service has dropped fire retardant on the top north end flank of the fire.

It’s unclear how close the fire is to homes in the Wilden development.

Firefighters have laid line around the bottom of the hillside, where the flames first took off, to stop the spread of the blaze toward homes on Yates Road.

Flames are candling in the trees.

People are not being allowed into their homes at Orchard View Estates on Yates Road.

One air tanker and two helicopters are on scene, along with a bird dog plane.

#BCWildfires #Kelowna #Okanagan #Fire #Canada

A post shared by James A. LaBree (@james_labree) on

———

UPDATE: 1:47 p.m.

Helicopters are bucketing water over a blaze quickly growing in the Glenmore area.

Firefighters managed to build a guard around the homes near Yates Road, to stop flames which were only 100 feet away.

The fire is climbing the hillside toward the Wilden residential area.

BC Wildfire Service air tanker is also on scene, to drop retardant.

———-

UPDATE: 1:34 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service on scene of a wildfire in Glenmore off of Yates Road.

The blaze is considered a rank 2 fire, and is burning in the grass and trees.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Fire officials are on scene and have set up a command centre on Yates Road.

UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.

Yates Road is now closed due to a wildfire burning in the area.

The fire is burning above the homes on Yates Road.

Traffic is backed up along Glenmore Road.

———-

Fire crews are on scene of blaze near Yates Road in Glenmore.

BC Wildfire Service is responding with ground crews and air support.

Smoke can be seen rising from the Glenmore area.

The blaze is moving quickly up the hillside, trees are reported to be candling.

A reporter is headed to the scene.

More to come.


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

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Cheryl Weirda

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