Crews stand watch on Bypass Road grass fire

A fire that broke out Saturday afternoon on Bypass Road in Keremeos stayed clear of residences

Fire that began in a field off Bypass Road in Keremeos spread into  hillside brush and timber on June 2

Fire that began in a field off Bypass Road in Keremeos spread into hillside brush and timber on June 2

Fire crews from Keremeos, Kaleden and the B.C. Forest Service battled a grass fire on Bypass Road in Kermeos on Saturday, June 2.

The fire began approximately 4 p.m. in a field near the west end of the bypass, spreading to the north. Trees at the base of Puddinghead Mountain could be seen candling as the flames moved through the sparsely treed hillside, fed by moderately strong winds.

A water bomber made three passes across the fire front on Saturday evening, dropping retardant,  and a helicopter was also put to work through Saturday evening.

Crews worked to contain the fire to keep it from reaching the dump. Strong winds on Saturday afternoon and evening were a factor, necessitating a fire crew to be on scene through the night. Keremeos firefighters, along with forestry crews, worked to overhaul the burn on Sunday morning. Kaleden firefighters were put to work protecting a couple of residences close to the fire. They were released from the scene around 9:30 p.m.

Firefighters managed to contain the blaze to the hillside, and no buildings were lost, although a wind change could have had severe consequences.

Cooler temperatures on Sunday and rain Monday morning aided forestry crews still on the mountain doing mop up. Even with more favourable conditions, the odd tree could still be seen going up in flames on Monday morning.

It is unknown at this time exactly what started the fire, although suspicions are that it was human caused. An eyewitness told the Review that they saw a neighbour burning material int their backyard prior to the fire.

A total of 19 firefighters from Keremeeos and Kaleden attended the blaze, (including four on mutual aid from Kaleden,) and a number of forestry personnel.

One residence voluntarily evacuated late Saturday afternoon, although it was felt that no homes were under imminent threat from the flames.