BX-Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey investigates a suspicious grass fire, which was sparked next to the BC Hydro substation early Monday, March 22, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

BX-Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey investigates a suspicious grass fire, which was sparked next to the BC Hydro substation early Monday, March 22, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Potentially explosive grass fire snuffed near North Okanagan substation

Camp fire deemed suspicious, fireworks found nearby

There would have been more than fireworks going off if crews hadn’t snuffed a suspicious fire early Monday morning.

BX-Swan Lake firefighters were called to a grass fire, which was rapidly spreading due to wind, next to the BC Hydro substation on Pottery Road shortly before 2 a.m. March 22.

Flames 10-to-12 feet tall scorched the dry grass approximately 500 feet alongside the substation and an adjacent building, fueled by 15-kilometre/hour winds.

“We had some pretty serious potential,” fire chief Bill Wacey said. “We stopped it three feet short of a lot of pallet piles.”

Coldstream fire crews were called to assist in dousing the blaze, which is under investigation. The blaze was initially investigated in the early morning by Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP as a camp fire.

No person was identified with the camp fire, but neighbours reported vehicles in the area.

“A couple suspicious cars were hanging around here around one in the morning and we ended up finding some fireworks alongside the road here which are part of the investigation along with some sparklers,” Wacey said.

RCMP were reportedly following up on a number of reports of fireworks being set off around the Vernon area Sunday evening and Monday morning.

Fireworks were also spotted near a dumpster fire Monday morning in the 4000 block of 32nd Street.

READ MORE: Vernon crews douse dumpster fire

Legally there are no fireworks allowed, and a special license is needed to set them off.

A neighbour on East Vernon Road saw the flames from his house and feared the worst.

“If it gets into the hydro station we’re really screwed. It basically starts its own inferno,” said the neighbour, who has long been concerned about the ongoing presence of youth and those littering in the area.

He also watched as the wind blew embers over neighbouring dry fields and hillsides.

This is the seventh grass fire BX-Swan Lake firefighters have attended in the last week or so. While this fire is deemed suspicious, the others have been due to those burning and allowing their fires to get away on them.

“We’re in pretty dry conditions right now,” warns Wacey. “Until we get some rains, we’re going to continue to be in very dry conditions.”

Damage was spared to the building adjacent to the fire, which is used by Venture Training for pallet rebuilds.

READ MORE: BX-Swan Lake Fire Rescue battles second grassfire


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BCHydrofirefightersFireworks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Keremeos family lost their home after a fire shortly before midnight on April 13. No injuries were reported. (Contributed)
Keremeos home destroyed in late-night fire

The family inside was unharmed

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Campfires are allowed within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, but open burning season comes to an end April 15 at midnight. (Black Press file photo)
Open burning season ends in Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Campfires are permitted, following provincial guidelines

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Name is spelled incorrectly

For 100 years, the Garnett name has been spelled incorrectly as Garnet

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Development will start disintegration of Summerland

I am in favour of affordable housing but voting for a rezoning does not address this serious issue

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversay of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

Naloxone
In 2020, close to 4,000 people across IH had access to opioid medications

— By Susan Brown, President and CEO, Interior Health It has been… Continue reading

Somewhere in the pack being celebrated by his teammates is Vernon Vipers forward Zack Tonelli, who scored in overtime Wednesday afternoon, April 14, to give the Snakes a 6-5 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in B.C. Hockey League pod play at Kal Tire Place. (Liza Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Vernon Vipers bite Salmon Arm Silverbacks in OT

Snakes blow 5-3 third-period lead, rally in extra time for 6-5 pod play result over rivals

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Okanagan Falls Volunteer Fire Department, photo from Okanagan Falls Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page
The Okanagan Falls Volunteer Fire Department. (Facebook)
South Okanagan fire crews battle two blazes one-after-another

The two fires were likely caused by discarded cigarettes according to the fire department

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Most Read