The damage done by fires burning around Peachland, near Kelowna, B.C., could have been a lot worse and construction on the Ponderosa Golf Club may have actually helped contain the blaze.
“The flames actually reached six of the holes of the golf course under construction. We’ve been out on site. There’s certainly substantial fire damage to the foliage around the golf course,” said resort general manager Douglas Goubault.
When it’s completed, Ponderosa will be a 7,000-yard plus Greg Norman design offering panoramic views of Okanagan Lake, but fire spread quickly on Sunday, forcing evacuations. The order was lifted Monday evening.
“The six holes that are affected are built on an extreme slope and they are under construction, so there wasn’t any turf on the holes. It was rock construction base material that was there,” said Goubault.
“Obviously, there was no damage to the rock and base material. In fact, the clearing and the benches created by those holes actually held the fire down because it came up from below,” he added.
“As opposed to going right up the mountain and over the top, which would have been disastrous, it reached those holes and basically, stayed there because it couldn’t get across the width,” he said.
Four holes of the golf course were seeded this year, with the rest due to be done by the middle of next year with the opening scheduled for late summer. The golf course on Tuesday was being used as reunion points and bases for fire crews.
“There are a lot of trees that are still standing and seem to be in good condition, so it’s not a total loss,” said Goubault.
“It could have been an awful lot worse for everybody, If the holes weren’t there, I think it could have impacted hundreds of homes on the other side of the mountain,” he said.