A fire that broke out in a huge sawdust pile at the Clifton Ranch occupied much of the Keremeos and District Volunteer Fire Department’s available personnel on Thursday, June 26.
Firefighters were called to the scene around 11:30 a.m. A huge plume of white smoke was visible from the village centre, approximately three kilometres away.
Wilson Clifton was working the pile with a cat Thursday morning when he noticed smoke and flame coming from underneath the unit. He figures some sawdust somehow ignited underneath the cat, which he was able to drive clear of the pile before it stalled.
Fortunately, winds were just picking up late Thursday morning, but had not gained enough strength to spread the fire, which more or less confined itself to the sawdust pile. An earthen berm along the pile’s windward side also helped greatly to prevent its spread. Nonetheless, fire crews had their work cut out for them as the fire penetrated deep into the pile. A sprinkler system was being set up Thursday afternoon to provide more continous moisture to the blaze.
No buildings threatened during the incident.