Forest Service firefighters working the Hedges Butte fire last weekend. (Mike Biden photo)

Long weekend Penticton fires all person-caused: BC Wildfire

Hedges Butte and PIB fires contained or put out

  • Sep. 9, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The Hedges Butte wildfire and the two small fires on Penticton Indian Band land, near West Bench over the long weekend are all suspected to be person-caused, according to BC Wildfire Service.

Fire crews from Penticton Indian Band and BC Wildfire were quick to respond to a new grass fire that started Monday, Sept. 6 at 8:30 a.m.

The blaze was located near the KVR Trail above the channel and rapidly spread, causing a lot of smoke through the area. Helicopters immediately started throwing water on it. It grew to 1.7 hectares before it was contained.

BC Wildfire report that another smaller fire started a short time later and was quickly extinguished. That too was considered caused by a person.

“Our crews noticed another spot-sized fire nearby and jumped on it right away,” said BC Wildfire information officer Aydan Coray.

As of Sept. 8, the 156-hectare Hedges Butte fire is now held. It is surrounded by a combination of hand and machine guards, as well as roadways that support the containment of the fire within these boundaries, noted BC Wildfire on its dashboard.

Crews are continuing to mop up and patrol for remaining smoke and hotspots on all flanks of the wildfire located on Green Mountain Road said Coray. They were receiving help from Mexican firefighters until Thursday, the last day the expert firefighters are in B.C. before making their way home.

READ MORE: Mexican firefighters set to go home

Cindy Kirk and her husband were having coffee on their deck in the morning when they spotted the smoke from the Hedges Butte fire. By then the blaze was already quickly spreading up the slope.

Kirk and her husband took advantage of the nearby creek and their pump to start spraying down everything they could reach until BC Wildfire arrived.

“I think the helicopters arrived in about 20 minutes, and the firefighters were here so fast, I’m so thankful for them. It was like hell, it was so horrible. Everybody goes through those fires and you never really realize how bad it is until you’re in that situation.”

READ MORE: Photos from the fire zone

The Skaha Creek fire that tripled in size to 227 ha in just a few short hours on Aug. 28 has also been contained. This fire is also considered human-caused.

It’s been a long fire season for Penticton that started in early July with the Thomas Creek fire. One week later, the Nk’Mip fire erupted just north of Osoyoos on July 19.

That fire, which peaked at over 22,000 hectares caused hundreds of evacuation orders and alerts and the loss of at least two homes.

No one has been injured in any of the fires in Penticton so far.

However, fire season isn’t over yet for the Interior of B.C. with tinder-dry conditions continuing.

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