Westsyde fire brings rush-hour surprise

Brush fire above Westsyde sent smoke and flames into air Friday afternoon.

Brush fire above Westsyde sent smoke and flames into air Friday afternoon.

Retardant painted the hill orange above Westsyde. (A.M. News photos)

Retardant painted the hill orange above Westsyde. (A.M. News photos)

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.


About Mel Rothenburger (8330 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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