Unconfirmed reports say a pickup that caught fire and was forced to pull off Highway 97 south of Vernon may have caused a quickly spreading wildfire on Monday afternoon.

BC Wildfire Service says the wildfire in tall grass and a tree-lined area near Predator Ridge turnoff was 35 hectares and growing.

No structures were believed to be under threat late Monday afternoon, when hundreds of vacationers were headed home along a crowded Highway 97.

At least two helicopters, an air tanker and spotter plane were battling the blaze alongside Vernon firefighters and BCWS crews.

Winds gusting up to 25 km/h from the north were helping spread the flames.

BCWS and the City of Vernon repeatedly asked the public to stay away from the area and off the water of Kal Lake so firefighters could work.

Traffic was backed up from Predator Ridge turnoff to the Kal Lake Lookout.