Landfill fire places Coldstream neighbourhood on evacuation alert

Firefighters have been on scene at Greater Vernon landfill since 4:26 p.m.

Flames are consuming wood debris and grass at the Greater Vernon landfill Monday evening.

Flames are consuming wood debris and grass at the Greater Vernon landfill Monday evening.

UPDATE AT 8:40 P.M.

Helicopter action has stopped at a Vernon fire because of darkness but the ground attack continues.

Crews from Vernon, BX-Swan Lake and Coldstream, as well as the B.C. Forest Service, remain at the Greater Vernon landfill where a grass fire has consumed about six hectares.

“It seems to be calming down a bit,” said Courtenay Pitcher, City of Vernon communications officer.

“They are still putting a lot of water on it.”

Firefighters will be on site throughout the night and it’s expected that an evacuation alert for Clerke Road will remain in place.

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Residents of a Coldstream neighbourhood may have to leave stubborn fire spreads.

Officials have placed Clerke Road on an evacuation alert as a result of a wind-fed fire at the Greater Vernon landfill.

“We want them to be aware of the fire,” said Jack Blair, Vernon deputy fire chief.

The blaze broke out at about 4:26 p.m. when a grinding machine experienced mechanical problems and caught on fire.

“It got the construction debris burning and expanded quickly because of wind conditions,” said Blair, adding that there’s “tons of fuel” because of pallets, branches and dry grass.

At just before 7 p.m., the fire was about half-a-hectare in size.

“There’s a lot of concern that this thing may spread,” said Blair.

There are 50 firefighters on scene from the Vernon, Coldstream and BX-Swan Lake departments as well as the Forest Service. A helicopter has been bucketing water from Kalamalka Lake and water bombers are anticipated.

Watch for more details as they become available.