UPDATE 8/9 7:30 a.m.
The orchard fire has been deemed suspicious, but there is no evidence to indiciate it was started by a person, according to the Kelowna RCMP.
At this time, it is unknown how the fire started.
A loud explosion followed by flames woke residents in Southeast Kelowna just before midnight, Tuesday (Aug. 9).
According to witnesses on the scene, an old pile of cherry wood appeared to have combusted at the end of Ward Road in an orchard.
A neighbour in the area heard a loud bang at about 11:50 p.m. and called 911.
Firefighters were quick to the scene and doused the flames before it could spread. The area is tinder dry and there is a high fire danger rating for the Central Okanagan.
Wayne Dorman lives down the road from the orchard and awoke to the flames.
He said he was maybe the second person to call 911 at about 12:08 a.m. and within minutes there were multiple RCMP vehicles and fire trucks.
“I saw big flames coming from the orchard, the flames were huge. The response time was good, very quick,” said Dorman.
Dorman explained the area at the end of Ward Road, is a working cherry orchard where there is a garage and several Sea-Cans, but no one lives on the property.
More than eight RCMP vehicles responded to the call, which was first reported as a structure fire, although no buildings appeared to be damaged in the incident.
It’s unclear what sparked the blaze. Another person on scene commented that the area has a well-used trail and that several people had wandered through earlier in the evening.
Firefighters remain on scene extinguishing hot spots.
More to come.