Similkameen grassfire put out within ‘a stones throw’ from homes

Similkameen grassfire put out within ‘a stones throw’ from homes

Bud Gottfriedson and his family was woken up when two grass fires were within 100 metres of his home at the side of Highway 3. Highway was closed 10 km east of Keremeos.

At about 4 a.m. Saturday morning, Bud Gottfriedson was woken up by a phone call saying a grassfire was burning just up from his house at the side of Highway 3 near the Lower Similkameen Indian Band office.

“All of us neighbours got a phone call,” he said Saturday afternoon. “It’s quite the adrenaline rush being woken up at 4 a.m. because of fire.”

A home support worker attended the house shortly after the call to evacuate his wife, who is in a wheelchair, and take her to the band office.

He and his daughter Rachel stayed to help fight the grassfire with neighbours.

As he and others started to work on the smaller fire burning up on the highway, a second fire, this one closer to his house, was spotted.

“I was standing by the tractor, so I could do a fire line or something. Then the fire popped up down below us. It was a little tense, the wind was blowing pretty good. The wind was blowing straight at us,” he said.

Gottfriedson said about six homes were in the area of the grassfire.

Related: Update: Structures still at risk from Snowy Mountain fire

The Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department pulled its trucks and members from suppression efforts on Chopaka Road where 21 properties have been evacuated and are under threat from the Snowy Mountain wildfire. Other volunteer departments in neighbouring commutnies deployed to provide mutual aid for Keremeos also attended the grassfire.

Gottfriedson said the fire spread quickly and was about 70 metres from his home while it was a “stone’s throw away,” from other homes.

“It was close. I have a couple of out buildings on the property, tractors and farm vehicles all over the yard and horses in the barn,” he said.

The fires forced the closure of Highway 3 in the area for several hours in the early morning.

Crews and residents worked for about six hours to put the fires out. Several firefighters stayed to monitor for hot spots.

“It was too much stress for 4 a.m.,” he said.

Related:Keremeos firefighters working night patrols as Snowy Mountain fire rains ash, embers

BC Wildfire is investigating the cause of the fire, which they have deemed to be human-caused.

After taking about an hour nap after the fire was out, Gottfriedson took a helicopter ride to check on his grazing land on top Snowy Mountain.

He said his grazing area was untouched by the fire, but several other parcels of ranch land were torched.

“Imagine looking up there and there is nothing left but match sticks standing and the ground looks like briquets. The ground is grey and the trees are black,” he said.

Gottfriedson, who grew up in the area, said he’s never seen a fire like this.

“I’ve heard about 50 years ago or more, there was a big fire like this. But this is the biggest fire I’ve seen other than the few I’ve seen burning in Washington and Montana,” he said.

At the time of this posting the Snowy Mountain fire was almost 11,000 hectares in size and was considered out of control and zero per cent contained.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Similkameen grassfire put out within ‘a stones throw’ from homes

Just Posted

LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot designed by Xenex Disinfection Services. (Contributed photo)
Germ-killing robot on the job at White Rock’s Peace Arch Hospital

Goal to match $100,000 donation met, say PAHF officials

A home on the corner of at the corner of 63B Avenue and 165A Street boasts a display of thousands of lights that bring in people throughout the city to check it out. The family also collects donations for BC Children's Hospital. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Lisa Batstone’s appeal of her conviction and sentence for the killing of her eight-year-old daughter is set for Jan. 12, 2021. (File photos)
South Surrey mother’s murder-appeal date set

Lisa Batstone is appealing her conviction and sentence in death of eight-year-old daughter

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

The westbound lanes of Highway 1 between Clearbrook and McCallum roads were closed to traffic Wednesday morning after a fatal collision involving a pedestrian.
Pedestrian dies after being struck by vehicle on Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Collision takes place early Wednesday morning between Clearbrook and McCallum roads

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A near empty waterfront train platform is pictured in downtown Vancouver, Monday, April 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
TransLink disables some services for second day due to ‘suspicious network activity’

Customers cannot use credit card or debit card at fare gates or Compass card vending machines

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:14 a.m.
Westbound Highway 1 lanes in Abbotsford closed as crews investigate serious crash

Crash occurred between McCallum and Riverside roads at around 4 a.m., next update at 8 a.m.

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by SFU professor surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Most Read