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Firefighters in West Kelowna, B.C., hit brush fire; no evacuation alerts, orders

WEST KELOWNA, B.C. - On the ground and from the air, firefighters spent Tuesday evening battling a five-hectare brush fire near a residential area in the Okanagan community of West Kelowna, B.C.

The flames, believed to be human caused, broke out on the east slope of Mt. Boucherie, said Melissa Klassen, of the Wildfire Management Branch.

But thanks to the efforts of West Kelowna Fire Rescue as well as two air tankers, a helicopter and bird dog, the blaze was smouldering by the early evening, she said.

Klassen said firefighters also dropped retardant on three sides of the fire, and a road acted as a natural barrier on the remaining side.

"Structures are in the area but none are immediately threatened at the time," she said.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations reports no evacuation alerts or orders have been issued, an emergency operations' centre is now running and police are redirecting traffic away from a local road.

Emergency officials are also asking boaters on nearby Okanagan Lake to stay out of the way of helicopters that are filling buckets with water.

There have been several fires in that area of the Okanagan Valley area over the years, including a 2003 forest fire that burned into Kelowna and consumed 238 homes.

The Wildfire Management Branch reports there are a few dozen fires larger than 10 hectares that are still burning in the province or in the mop-up stages.

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