Vernon Fire Rescue Services and a crew from B.C. Wildfire Services will spend the night working on a forest fire in Okanagan Landing.
A fire broke out on the hill near the Tavistock development above Tronson Road, sometime after 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
“What we have is a Rank 3 fire (in severity from 1 to 5), about an acre in size at this point,” said Vernon Fire Rescue Services Chief Keith Green just after midnight Sunday.
“We have about 30 boots (firefighters) on the ground working on it. It’s tough terrain. The guys are humping hose uphill along with pumping water up to the fire.”
The forestry crew is building a guard around the fire to help contain it.
Green said the fire was still about a kilometre to kilometre and a half from any structures.
“Our goal is to contain the fire to the size and scope it’s at now, then re-evalute our resource needs at first light,” he said, adding that dropping water on the fire from the air could be a possibility if needed.
Forestry planes and helicopters do not fly in the dark.
“We are making headway. Really proud of the work the guys have done so far,” said Green.
About 60 residents of Adventure Bay were evacuated from their homes, including Vernon city councillor Dalvir Nahal, who lives there with family.
Nahal was entertaining guests when the fire broke out.
“We smelled smoke, went for a walk and saw a red flash up the hill,” said Nahal via phone.
An emergency services society (ESS) reception area was being readied at the Vernon Rec Centre for evacuees.
Among the first to arrive was Arnold Paterson, who owns a funeral supply company in Calgary. He was on his last day of vacation with 10 other family members.
The family was watching TV in the basement of a rental home on Tronson Road when they heard sirens. They got up to see a fire truck racing by the property.
“My son-in-law was with me and we looked up at the hill and saw the fire,” said Paterson.
“Our boat is still in the water,” said his granddaughter, Kaycie Turcotte, 12, from Whitecourt, Alta.
Paterson and his family, along with the other residents of the area, were evacuated and told to report to the rec centre.
“I didn’t even get to bring my glasses,” said Jordyn Daniels, 10, another of Paterson’s grandchildren, from Calgary.
The girls were told of the evacuation on their way to the rec centre.
“It’s exciting and scary,” said Daniels. “I can’t wait to tell my Grade 5 teacher.”
Once at the rec centre, evacuees were being greeted by ESS volunteers, who were also assembling.
“We’ve started our emergency operation centre,” said Helen Sinclair, emergency program coordinator for North Okanagan Emergency Management.
“We’ve started our reception centre for people who have been evacuated, a preventative evacuation out of the Adventure Bay-Tronson Road areas.
“ESS folks are here, setting up to register the evacuees and help get them set up for the night in case they can’t get home tonight.”
There is no word at this point on what caused the fire.