Residents of the Riddle Road area in Penticton aren’t putting the danger of wildfire from their minds so easily.
Right next to the KVR Trail and the Three Blind Mice cycling area, surrounded by dry grasses and trees, a spark could put the neighbourhood in jeopardy.
A group from the neighbourhood is requesting that the City of Penticton extend the water line from Naramata Road to where Riddle intersects with the KVR Trail.
“When you go out on the trail and walk the dog, you can see quite a few cigarette butts around and also, on Riddle Road where these people park, there are cigarette butts. We are concerned, we would like a fire hydrant,” said spokesman Doug Cox, explaining that they are in a precarious position because we are between the popular trail and the cycling area, with hundreds of visitors passing through the area on summer days.
The area is also in use this week for some of the Multisport World Championship events.
Cox said he is worried that if a fire should threaten the area, crews might have a hard time, being forced to use the tender to truck water between a bladder placed at the fire and the nearest hydrant on Naramata Road.
“Riddle Road is probably the steepest road in Penticton,” said Cox, noting that during a fire both residents and recreation users would have to be evacuated down the road while the fire crews and water tender were coming up.
“It would be a severe bottleneck,” said Cox. “A fire hydrant at Riddle and the trail would make fighting a residential fire or a wildfire much more efficient.”
Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, said city staff and Fire Chief Larry Watkinson are preparing a study on areas of the city needing fire protection enhancements, including Riddle Road. Some members of city council, however, felt Riddle should be made a priority.
“We do have other areas that are at risk, but the one you are identifying, I believe, has more of a priority due to the traffic,” said Coun. Judy Sentes. “It is well publicized in the international community now and I think it bears some immediate attention.
Council, however, did not give any direction to staff to give Riddle Road a priority in the upcoming study.
“Judging by the comments and nods, we understand the situation. I hope we can find some sort of solution,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. “Sometime in September, we will get some answers for your concerns.”