The Oliver Fire Department put out two fires over the Easter Weekend.
“It has definitely been an early start to wildfire season,” said fire department spokesperson Rob Graham. “We had two on the weekend, we’ve had a couple other grassfires, and as of yesterday there’s a 300-hectare fire near Merritt. We’re super early for fire season.”
On Saturday, at 1:45 a.m., the department was called to put out a fire spotted by an ambulance driver returning to Oliver.
“They noticed smoke and an orange glow from the area,” said Graham. “It turned out to be a fire off the hike and bike path a couple kilometres north of Oliver.”
The area is considered rather out of the way, and the fire had stretched out along the path, reaching about 50 to 70 feet by 200 feet is size before it was extinguished.
The fire had mostly consumed grasses and brush, as well as a couple trees which the department ended up having to cut down in order to fully put the fire out.
“The way they were burning indicated the fire had been burning for some time, and all of a sudden someone noticed,” said Graham.
The cause of the fire, and when it actually started, is still under investigation.
The fire is considered somewhat suspicious due to the timing, the lack of people in the area and easy access to the area where the fire started.
A fire engine, a water tender and a bush truck responded along with 15 personnel. Firefighters were on the scene for about two hours.
Then on Sunday, a homeowner who had attempted to make a controlled burn to mitigate fire risks for the summer had his fire get out of control.
Despite some patches of grass being green, other areas still had dead undergrowth.
Graham advised for other people planning fires to make sure to keep around some water in a mobile container in case of an emergency.
“Everybody needs to be diligent to reduce the risk of fires, obviously now, but through the rest of wildfire season.”
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