Grass fire breaks out on Columbia River flats south of Revelstoke

A grass fire broke out on the flats adjacent to the Columbia River on Tuesday afternoon.

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A grass fire on the Columbia River flats near the area known as 8 Mile on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 16. Photo: Peter Hughes

A grass fire has broken out on the grassy flats adjacent to the Columbia River on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 16. The fire is near the area known as 8 Mile.

Eyewitness Peter Hughes was at the site. He said that provincial forest fighting staff were on scene at the fire.

A grass fire on the Columbia River flats near the area known as 8 Mile on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 16. Photo: Peter Hughes

There have been several grass fires on the flats at this time of the year over the past several years. After the snow melts, the dead grass from the previous year dries out quickly, leaving a layer of very flammable dry grass. The fire risk can be deceiving because the ground underneath can still be wet and waterlogged. People who are unaware of the risk set them off with campfires or other fires.

Once touched off, the perimeter expands quickly. Fighting the grass fires can be difficult because the ground can be very soft in some areas and fire crews are reluctant to drive heavy trucks onto the flats because the trucks can become bogged down and stuck easily.

The fires tend to generate a lot of white smoke. Some is now visible in downtown Revelstoke.

A grass fire on the Columbia River flats near the area known as 8 Mile on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 16. Photo: Peter Hughes

The Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services does have specialized vehicles designed for fires on the grassy area. Fire truck sirens could be heard in Revelstoke on Tuesday afternoon.

Hughes said that it was somewhat windy at the scene and there was some concern from people on the scene about nearby homes.

Hughes said there had been conversations at the scene that the fire might have been touched off by partiers.

Correction: A previous version of this story said the fire was at a location known as 12 Mile. In fact, the fire is nearby the area known as 8 Mile.

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