The July 4, 2017 fire in Kaleden grew large enough that air support was called in to dump retardent on the flames. Western News file photo

Kaleden marks anniversary of July 4 fire

Town working hard to become Fire Smart

  • Jul. 8, 2018 10:30 a.m.

July 7 marked the one-year anniversary of the start of some of the biggest forest fires in B.C. history.

But in the South Okanagan, the first fire was July 4, when the small community of Kaleden had to be partially evacuated as a wildfire raged, eventually consuming a home, some outbuildings and part of a vineyard.

Related: Kaleden resident in ‘utter shock’ at losing home in wildfire

Linda Dahl, part of a five-person Fire Smart committee, said the community was left with a sense of vulnerability.

Earlier this year, Kaleden’s Fire Smart Committee organized a community cleanup to prepare for this year’s fire season and continues to plan projects and activities that will move Kaleden towards being a recognized Fire Smart community.

Related: Regional directors call for more fire smart programs

Dahl this is a good time to remind people to be very aware of the changing conditions and not to become complacent about Interface and wildland fires.

“The community has rallied and is moving forward trying to make the area Fire Smart by reducing the fuel load in all neighbourhoods. People have been very diligent about trimming dead trees, clearing brush piles, removing dead cedars and mowing the long grass along property fronts,” wrote Dahl in a release.

They’ve also obtained a grant to do a fire assessment, now in progress to determine what can be done to further ensure that Kaleden and area are as safe as can be from another interface fire.

Once the assessment is finished, the results will be shared at a community meeting, where Kaleden residents can discuss what the next steps will be.

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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