A fast-moving grass fire kept Penticton firefighters on their toes today, as it quickly consumed dry brush along an urban trail and threatened several homes in the area around noon.
Les Roberts was eating lunch outside of his Farrell Street home when he noticed a small fire off the trail and just down the embankment at the back of his house.
His alarm grew as the wind picked up, however.
“They had a teeny, tiny little fire over there and a few people were trying to stamp it out on their own,” he recalled pointing to the ignition point at the end of Wade Avenue East. “Then the wind blew and, holy smokes, it started going.
“It jumped the road there, and started coming up the hill.”
That’s the point where the retiree sprung into action. He went outside and started watering his yard and the embankment.
“We got out the hoses,” Roberts said, noting his neighbours came out to help. “One guy had the sprinkler going. Everybody came out and was spraying water here.”
He points out an area on the embankment where shrubs used to be, which now shows only scorched earth and smoldering grass.
“The telephone pole across the way there, I saw the fire go up that entire pole. It was a big ball of fire, and I thought, ‘Oh no, that’s going to come down,’” he said.
The fire spread from the end of Duncan up the embankment and along a portion of the trail, which runs parallel to Farrell.
“If it wasn’t for the wind, it wouldn’t have got going,” Roberts said.
The fire was largely contained by fire crews by 1 p.m.
The incident occurred just as the Kamloops Fire Centre and City of Penticton announced the temporary fire ban for open fires would be rescinded, given the favourable weather conditions that had led to a “decreased fire danger rating.” The ban will be lifted effective noon on Thursday, Sept. 22.
More to come on this story as it develops.