Firefighters spent six-and-a-half hours battling a Cawston blaze after it was fanned by high winds, turning into a raging grass fire on Victoria Day.
“It’s our busiest year so far,” said Keremeos Fire Department chief Jordy Bosscha.
The fire had started inside an old storage shed that had not been used for a while, Bosscha said.
“There was a small shed that was on fire, then it got into some plastic barrels and some old transport trucks and then got into about a three-quarter hectare brushfire.”
The exact cause of the fire is not currently known, and may remain undetermined due to the amount of fire damage.
High winds made fighting the fire difficult, fanning the flames and carrying embers over the nearby dyke, where they got into the riparian land near the river.
“The way the wind was blowing, if it had gotten any further it could have gotten into some other real estate including a feed lot and who knows what else,” said Bosscha. “It was an eye-opener and everybody had to be on their toes.”
Once it had gone over the dyke, it reached several old log jams and deadwood where the fire was able to take hold.
Two attack teams from the B.C. Wildfire Service also joined the Keremeos crews in fighting the fire.
It was all hands on deck for the department, with more than 20 firefighters, both engines, both bush vehicles responding to the blaze.
“Every available member was on scene,” said Bosscha. “It was a good turnout for a holiday Monday.”
The property owners spotted the fire when it had consumed the shed and reported it then. From there, it had spread and consumed several old trucks that were being used for parts before it got into the pile of plastic barrels.
The fire was near another home, 30 metres downwind, and a shop another 25 metres or so in the other direction, according to Bosscha.
There were no injuries as a result of the fire.
This is the second major fire that the department has had to fight in just over a month.
On April 5, the department called in B.C. Wildfire to assist with a fire on the hills near River Road in Keremeos.
That fire ended up requiring the assistance of an excavator to get at a root system that was still smoldering the day after the fire.
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