A grass fire burning south of Vernon has spread approximately one kilometre and closed down a major artery.
A truck pulling a trailer sparked the blaze shortly before 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7 off Highway 97, near Kekuli Bay on Westridge Road.
All the occupants of the burning vehicle got out safely before crews were called to the area.
The fire is now approximately 35 hectares in size and has been classified as out of control. Those travelling between Vernon and Kelowna will see the smoke as they pass through the highway and can expect delays as crews are working to extinguish the wildfire. The southbound lane of Highway 97 was closed for a period, with traffic backed up until Okanagan College’s Vernon campus. Single-lane alternating traffic is in effect therefore delays are to be expected.
Boaters and water users are asked to clear the area near Kekuli Bay on Kalamalka Lake as emergency crews are using water from the lake to fight the fire.
No structures appear to be in danger.
Forestry crews have been called into action, and three air tankers and two helicopters are actioning the blaze.
Traffic is impacted mainly in the southbound lane, as the fire is burning on hillside next to the highway between the Greater Vernon landfill and the Predator Ridge turnoff at Bailey Road.
The fire is climbing the hill near the seed orchard and can be seen from Commonage Road near the regional compost facility.
Truck fire spreads to grass off Highway 97
Posted by Vernon Morning Star on Monday, September 7, 2020
There was a grass fire in the same vicinity last year.