Two firefighters, Nathan Martin and Captain Chad Graham, have taken a water tender down to assist the BC Wildfire Service in their fight with the Christie Mountain Fire. (CSRD photo)

Cigarette believed to have sparked Falkland fire

Small blaze ignited while residents are on evacuation alert due to Westwold blaze

Falkland’s fire chief had hoped that people were smarter than that, but the only conclusion he could make in regards to a roadside fire is that someone flicked a butt.

A small grass fire was sparked Tuesday evening, south of Falkland, between the Una rest area and Cedar Hill Road.

Two Falkland residents were driving by when they spotted three small fires on the side of Highway 97.

“Michel grabbed a jacket and I used my hands to scoop up some gravel,” said Rene Talbot, one of the men who stopped.

Talbot then honked his horn to alert the homeowner in the nearby house, who came out with a garden hose.

“If not for these two men, a few passerby’s and the house below, there would have been a serious problem in Falkland,” said Alexandra Talbot after hearing about the fire.

Fire chief Troy Ricard said these Good Samaritans put out the blaze and firefighters just soaked the area to make sure everything was out.

Crews drove seven kilometres up the highway to see if there were signs of the fire being started by a vehicle, but found nothing.

“We don’t know for certain but it seemed a little bit obvious that it would have been a cigarette,” Ricard said. “We would like to think that people are smarter than that but it does seem that would be the cause of the fire.”

It was actually three small fires all in the same vicinity, with the largest being three-by-three feet.

Although it was small, the fire added to the anxiety that many Falkland residents have as they are currently on evacuation alert due to the White Rock Lake fire near Westwold.

READ MORE: White Rock Lake wildfire near Westwold now 20,000 hectares

“It’s certainly put people on edge,” said Ricard. “As soon as the evacuation alert came into effect there was certainly some anxiety in town. A lot of hustle and bustle of people getting things ready.”

As of Wednesday, the small town north-west of Vernon was socked in by smoke, which isn’t helping people’s fears.

“The smoke alone creates anxiety,” Ricard said.

But he hopes that the situation means residents are ready in the event that they do have to leave,

“People need to be prepared this time of year for the worst.”

Having a contingency plan in place for pets and livestock, making sure personal items are ready and easy to access are just a couple of tips he offers.

But in the event that the White Rock blaze comes closer, the Falkland Fire Department is well prepared.

“We’re probably in the best shape we’ve ever been,” Ricard said. “We right now have the most members for sure and the most trained members that we’ve ever had.”

With approximately 25 committed members, they are ready to defend the community when needed.

“The fire is far enough away that we’re not out protecting homes,” he said. “But the possibility exists depending on the fire and the wind.”

READ MORE: Canadian Armed Forces staged in Vernon for fire help


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. Wildfires 2021