A hillside near the KVR Trail in West bench is blackened after high winds drove a grass fire through the area. Tara Bowie/Western News

Penticton firefighters dealing with fire above KVR trail

Grass fire being driven by high winds

Penticton firefighters are on the scene of a grass fire in West Bench driven by high winds channelled along a gully.

Penticton fire department was called out about 1:30 p.m. to reports of a small grass fire burning behind a home on Spartan Avenue. By the time they arrived, high winds had it spreading quickly along the gully above the popular KVR Trail.

RCMP have closed the area to traffic until the fire is under control and ordered observers to move farther away from the location as the fire spreads to the north endangering a home along Newton Drive.

Neighbours told the Western News that in 25 years living there, they had never seen a burn in the gully of this intensity. The fire reportedly started when a backyard burning pile got out of control and winds blew the flames into the gully. They were also concerned about being stuck in the area, with only the single bridge providing access.

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