Firefighters were busy battling a grass fire behind the landfill Tuesday.

Firefighters were busy battling a grass fire behind the landfill Tuesday.

Grass fire scorches Commonage

Grass fire breaks out on the hillside across the valley from last Tuesday's grass fire near The Rise

Local firefighters are starting to hate Tuesdays.

Exactly a week after a 36-hectare blaze at The Rise, crews were tackling a grass fire near the Greater Vernon landfill Tuesday.

“When I was talking to the crews, I said, ‘It’s been a week today,’” said Keith Green, Vernon fire chief, Tuesday.

“But we’ll take them when they come.”

Reports first came in at about 9:30 a.m. as people at Marshall Field could see smoke rising above the Commonage.

“Crews started to action from below and then a helicopter actioned water from the top,” said Green, adding that the fire began to spread to the west and south between Birnie and Commonage roads.

The blaze covered two hectares before being brought under control by late morning. Firefighters from the Vernon and Okanagan Landing departments, as well as the B.C. Forest Service, then shifted into the mop-up stage.

“I’m very impressed. Our crews have been phenomenal,” said Green.

The situation could have been far more serious given the large amount of grass present.

“It got to within five metres of the tree line so we were extremely fortunate,” said Green. “If it had got in there, there are trees heading down towards Kalamalka Lake. We would have got into tree candling.”




A cause for the fire had not been determined as of press time.

“There are unconfirmed reports of a loud bang in the area of origin,” said Green. “It’s just grass up there so it’s an odd location for a fire.”

As an example of the area’s remoteness, firefighters faced difficulties reaching the site from Birnie and Commonage roads.

“It’s very challenging terrain,” said Green.

With two wildfires in Vernon within a week, local residents are being reminded of current dry conditions.

“Most of the Kamloops Fire Centre is at a high rating with some pockets of extreme,” said Erin Catherall, a B.C. Forest Service fire information officer.

Campfires are banned and other ignition sources should be limited.

“Lightning is more common at this time of the year and we don’t want person-caused fires because they divert resources away from lighting-caused fires,” said Catherall.