Merritt Fire Rescue and provincial forest firefighters quickly contained a small grass fire on Midday Valley Road Wednesday morning despite its aggressive nature and a high-to-extreme danger rating.
The cause of the blaze is unknown and never threatened nearby structures, including Tolko Industries farther up the road.
A dozen firefighters built a guard around flaming grass and trees, containing it to a third of a hectare in size.
The Provincial Wildfire Management Branch had its eye on Merritt for another reason Wednesday as the province announced the leasing of two hectares from the City of Merritt for an expanded Merritt fire zone office and training centre.
The 25-year lease for the Airport Road property was signed on Sept. 21 with an option to renew for another 25 years.
The facility will improve the ministry's firefighting and monitoring capabilities in one of the largest fire suppression zones in the province, according to a news release.
So far this year, the Wildfire Management Branch has responded to 107 fires covering 653 hectares in the Merritt fire zone.
The facility will run the annual "boot camp" for new firefighters through classroom instruction and practising firefighting skills in conditions similar to those encountered in the field.
The new facility is expected to be operational before the 2013 fire season.