Lookout fire forces immediate response

Residents voluntarily leave homes because of approaching flames

The weather may be cooling off, but not enough to chill the risk of wildfires.

Firefighters were on scene of a grass fire at about 10 p.m. Sunday between the Kalamalka Lake lookout and Kekuli Bay Provincial Park.

“The threat is still very much there,” said Kevin Skrepnek, an information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch.

“The fire occurred at night when there was no heat.”

There has been some speculation that the 0.3-hectare fire may have been related to railway activity in the area.

“It wasn’t far from the rail tracks but the cause is still under investigation,” said Skrepnek.

Because of the dry conditions, there was a quick response from the Okanagan Landing, Coldstream and Lake Country fire departments and the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch.

“It was scary but exciting to see them all at work,” said Leslie Stadnick, a nearby resident who observed the scene from her boat on Kalamalka Lake.

“With it being at night, the flames were so vibrant. I was pretty scared for the one house.”

There was no formal evacuation of nearby homes but the RCMP did make residents aware of the situation.

“Some people did leave but they were back in their homes before midnight,” said Skrepnek.

One thing that helped in bringing the blaze under control was a lack of wind. Crews remained on scene overnight to ensure the blaze didn’t grow.

The fire occurred in an area outside of formal fire protection boundaries.