NEWS

2 new wildfires burn in dry Okanagan

08/19/2013 11:30 EDT | Updated 10/19/2013 05:12 EDT
A fire outside Osoyoos, B.C., grew quickly in size Monday evening, leading to the emergency evacuation of a few nearby homes.

B.C.'s Wildfire Management Branch reports that the fire is in an area called Richter Pass, about 10 kilometres outside of the southern Okanagan town.

As of 8 p.m. PT, the fire had spread over 12 hectares, and 14 firefighters were on scene.

By 9 p.m., the fire had spread over 20 hectares, and the response had grown to include 35 firefighters, two helicopters, and five air tankers.

Officials said the fire was burning close to homes in the area, but no structures were immediately threatened. The wildfire management branch said it was working with officials from the regional district to return residents who were evacuated earlier in the evening back to their homes.

"The specific cause remains under investigation, but this is believed to be a person-caused wildfire," the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch said on its website.

Vernon fire sparked at landfill

Fifty firefighters are already busy further north in the Okanagan, battling a wildfire that spread out from a Vernon landfill.

Courtenay Pitcher, speaking for the City of Vernon, said the landfill fire began at roughly 4:30 p.m. PT, and it quickly got out of control.

"There was a piece of machinery on fire, and it actually spewed out some particles or woodchips, or some sort of debris that was also on fire, and then it spread to the grasslands because there's heavy wind right now in Vernon," she told CBC News. As of 8 p.m. PT, the wildfire was six hectares in size, and those living along Clark Road were put on evacuation alert.

About 50 firefighters from multiple departments responded to the fire, along with a helicopter and crew from the provincial Wildfire Management Branch.

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