NEWS — Friday afternoon rush hour commuters came upon an unexpected site today (Friday) as a brush fire sent smoke pluming into the air on a slope above Grant Road in Westsyde.
The fire started in a swale halfway up the hill toward the Lac du Bois grasslands and, by 5 p.m., was attracting groups of Westsyde residents throughout the community to watch the bright flames and dense smoke. A few minutes later, spotter planes arrived to direct a bomber that swept in and dropped orange retardant on the edge of the fire closest to homes.
The houses didn’t appear immediately in danger but concerned residents kept a close eye on all the activity.
A ground crew got above the fire and poured water on it after it jumped a gully and began heading south along the hillside. Another ground crew kept an eye on it from the north end.
By 5:30 p.m. it appeared to be mostly contained within an area of about three hectares. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known.
The Kamloops Fire Centre said weather will remain hot and dry for the next seven to 10 days, increasing the potential for wildfires to ignite in a region that’s already seeing high temperatures and little precipitation.
Due to these conditions, several areas of the Kamloops Fire Centre are experiencing an “extreme” fire danger rating, with the remainder of the region rated as “moderate” to “high.”
So far this year in the Kamloops Fire Centre, the Wildfire Management Branch has responded to 123 wildfires that have burned over 349 hectares. There are currently more than 295 personnel fighting wildfires in the province and 60 of them are working on the 14 active fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre.