Rose Valley Reservoir Watershed Wildfire in 2015

In the past two decades, there have been four wildfires (2005, 2009, 2015 and 2020) caused by recreational carelessness in the tiny Rose Valley Reservoir watershed.

This is a terminal reservoir for the City of West Kelowna, with no further opportunities for natural purification. The distribution system commences at the reservoir.

The 2015 fire was kept small thanks to first responders, although it burned within 100 m of the pumphouse which stored chlorine cylinders under its tar roof. B.C. Wildfire Service was unaware of the chlorine risk during their initial attack on the fire.

A City staff member and a firefighter raced into the fire zone to start a sprinkler system on the roof of the pumphouse. Had the cylinders leaked or blown, the lives of the downslope firefighters would have been threatened and the chlorine gas evacuation zone would have involved thousands of residences.