Ned Alexis

Ned Alexis

Quick response for Falkland blaze

Falkland fire near Whispering Pines, now 100 per cent contained



It was nothing compared to the catastrophic 2003 fire, but a blaze near Falkland still crept uncomfortably close to some homes Sunday evening.

Thanks to the quick actions of nearby residents and fire crews, a 15-hectare blaze just east of Whispering Pines Road was under control by Monday morning.

“It’s been very co-operative with the public and everybody came at it really hard,” said Steve Olson, Vernon Fire Zone, protection assistant.

The wind-driven fire was sparked in a farmer’s field just before 6 p.m. Sunday.

“Our neighbours were just coming back and thought the restaurant was on fire,” said Tim Zieske, who owns the Whispering Pines Cafe.

“I got a shovel and helped George, our next door neighbour. He was at it pretty hard with his tractor already.”

Having witnessed the 2003 wildfire, the initial thought of fire sparked fear into some Falkland residents. But the immediate presence of air tankers and firefighters eased concerns.

“That (2003 fire) was a lot scarier,” said Zieske.

 

 

While reports of a tree falling over a power line are believed to be the cause of Sunday’s blaze, crews cannot confirm.

“It’s still under investigation, we haven’t confirmed (the cause),” said Olson.

The wildfire is now 100 per cent contained.  Twelve firefighters remain on site continuing with extinguishing hot spots within the fire’s perimeter.

The fire, sitting next to Highway 97, also closed the highway Sunday evening for several hours, then reduced to single lane with a pilot car. Both lanes were opened by late morning Monday.

For more photos and video footage of the fire visit www.vernonmorningstar.com.

Wildfire crews have also extinguished the 35-hectare Aberdeen blaze and 40-hectare blaze near Mabel Lake in Lumby.

The Aberdeen and Cottonwood Creek fires are both 100 per cent contained.

“This fire (Cottonwood Creek, near Lumby) is now in the patrol status and will be monitored into the fall,” said Michaela Swan, Kamloops Fire Centre fire information officer.

“Due to the heavy forest fuels in the fire area, there are still portions of this wildfire still smouldering. Smoke may still be visible until additional rain or snow is received.”