A fast moving grass-fire tore down from the hills above Batchelor Heights last night sparking panic, and prompting evacuations.
Matt Prasier was in his back yard when he smelled smoke around 5:00 pm.
“And it literally took about maybe two minutes from the top of the ridge to get right down to the first set of houses on the street. I could just see everybody panicking and throwing what they could in their cars and just trying to get out of here right away.”
Kamloops Fire and Rescue evacuated 12 homes but many others didn’t wait and had already left. As winds eased fire crews were able to halt the flames right across the street from homes.
Heat that radiated from the flames across the street wilted plants in people’s yards and had begun to char yards.
Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says it is almost a miracle no homes were lost.
“Definitely a close call. I think if not for that quick response and a bit of a shift in the weather this could have been very different. We have had dozens of new fires today right across the province. Obviously a lot of that has been driven by lightning.”
Kamloops Fire and Rescue Chief Mike Adams concurs.
“Oh very much a close call. Full credit to the crews from both Kamloops Fire and Rescue and BC Wildfire for actioning this so quickly and is such a professional manner. Obviously the cooperation from people in the community that were able to stay out of the way and let us do our work and evacuated in an orderly fashion.”
As for how the fire got started.
“Well right now that would be pretty speculative. In the morning when our investigators get on scene we will have a better understanding of what it is. The timing is aligned with a lightning storm that passed through our area.”
The grassfire grew to about 60 hectares at its height.
Evacuees were allowed to return home Thursday night.