Drought Hill grass fire deemed suspicious

A grass fire along Highway 97 on Drought Hill was quickly contained Thursday afternoon, thanks to fast acting witnesses, including an Approved Services driver who used his vehicle’s load of water to extinguish the fire.

A call for the grass fire came it at 1 p.m., when Peachland Fire and Rescue crews were already at the fire hall to attend another matter, so the response time to attend the fire was quick.

However, crews didn’t actually need to extinguish the fire, thanks to early witnesses on scene.

Luckily when the fire broke out, Approved Services was driving by with one of their large trucks and stopped to take action.

“They carry a significant amount of water on board, so the driver of that truck had used his water on board to contain and pretty much extinguish the fire before we got there,” Peachland fire chief Dennis Craig told the View.

Once fire crews arrived on scene, they took it over and dug a hand guard around the fire to prevent it from spreading.

Craig says they deemed the fire to be suspicious and handed the scene over to RCMP.

“Based on this time of year with the rainfall we’ve had and the fire danger rating…there is no reason for the fire to have started at this time of year,” Craig said.

Crews remained on scene until RCMP arrived to begin their investigation.

Shortly after 5 p.m. another roadside fire occurred between Peachland and Summerland and was contained by BC Wildfire.

Craig said it was actually raining at the time or shortly thereafter.

“We shouldn’t see fires of significant growth at this time of year. I’m not saying we’re not going to have those dry days yet again. Today’s going to be hot and sunny, so there is always a potential. We’ve had grass fires in December here in Peachland, so there’s always a danger, depending on Mother Nature. But luckily yesterday we had high humidity and low temperatures.”

By Joanne Layh

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