Burnt branches like this one a Keremeos resident sent into the Review are falling to the valley bottom floor in and around Keremeos along with embers and hot ash. The embers are coming from the Snowy Mountain Fire burning about 12 kilometers south of Keremeos (submitted photo)

B.C. volunteer firefighters work night patrols as raging wildfire rains ash, embers

Keremeos firefighters say they will work night shifts as long as needed, patrolling the Snowy Mountain fire.

Volunteer firefighters in Keremeos are eager to help as the largest wildfire in the province rages about 12 kilometres south of the village.

Jordy Bosscha said three firefighters will be working night shifts 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. as long as needed, patrolling for spot fires.

“As a firefighter it’s always hard to sit and watch,” Bosscha told the Review Wednesday.

Since BC Wildfire asked for volunteers to help with the Initial Attack teams, Keremeos firefighters have been clamouring to signup. The three-person crews work with BC Wildfire, patrolling in opposite directions to cover more ground. If they see something, they radio it in right away, so wildfire crews can quickly douse the spot fires.

Related: Breaking: 865 properties on evacuation alert, Snowy Mountain fire doubles in size

“It’s good everyone is willing to help. Everyone is jumping in, fighting over taking a shift. There’s no shortage of people wanting to help out with this,” he said.

Embers, ashes and chunks of burning branches are falling from the nearby Snowy Mountain, which at the time of this posting was 6,155 hectares in size.

Significant fire growth occurred overnight Wednesday to the east and north sides of the fire.

Bosscha said the three-person crew patrolling Wednesday night into Thursday morning did not see any spot fires start down in the valley floor in or around Keremeos. Bosscha said some firefighters are working the night shift and going into their day jobs the next morning depending on where they work and if they are needed.

“There’s no doubt about it, they are dedicated to this community.”

Currently, 384 property parcels have been placed on alert within Keremeos and 481 properties in rural Keremeos and Cawston areas.

Some properties in the Lower Similkameen Indian Band are also under evacuation alert.

An Evacuation Order was issued for Cathedral Lakes Lodge, not because of the Snowy Mountain Fire, but due to the Placer Mountain wildfire. The Placer Mountain fire is burning about 36 kilometres southwest of Keremeos in high elevation and was listed at 2,336 hectares in size at the time of this posting.

The lodge was evacuated because of concerns there might not be road access.

Related: Breaking: Evacuation Order and State of Local Emergency issued for Placer Mountain fire

Bosscha, who is also the village’s public works manager, urged everyone not to panic, but be prepared.

“It’s precautionary the alert, It’s precautionary to give you the heads up to start thinking about the things you want to pack up and get ready to go just in the chance things go south on us,” he said.

He also suggested for everyone, in the evacuation alert or not, to take sometime and look around their homes and reduce the risk of fire.

“The biggest thing for me is the tall grassy fields, and cedar hedges are like a gallon of gas just sitting their waiting,” he said. “When I think back to the 2003 Kelowna fire that the biggest thing for me and with bark mulch it creeps underneath and then comes up 10 feet over and then creeps up somewhere else,” he said.

Public works crew for the village has been out patrolling public areas during the day this week looking for areas that might pose a risk and clearing potential fire hazards.

Bosscha noted in all his years, he hasn’t seen a fire quite like this in the Keremeos area.

“We’ve had a number of fires back behind the K (mountain) and back the Ashnola, plumes of smoke and ashes coming down, but nothing as close as this,” he said.

He said the department is always looking for volunteers and the five student firefighters graduated last year and there are openings for high school students.

Anyone interested can pickup an application at the village office anytime or the fire hall on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. during weekly practice.

To report a typo, email:
editor@keremeosreview.com
.


@TaraBowieBC
editor@keremeosreview.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Location of Placer Mountain Fire and Snowy Mountain Fire on July 26, 2018. (screen grab BC Wildfire Service interactive map)

Just Posted

STARS transports man with gunshot wound

Reports of man involved in hunting incident air lifted out of Fairmont Hot Springs airport

When it’s all fun and games… and a little dust

An inside look at how Mainstreet Fun and Games chooses inventory

Accordion “still always big in demand”

Franz Grasegger invited to play on summer music tour with accordion

Hop downtown to hug the Easter Bunny

Easter activities across the Valley

Support through grief at hospice society

7th annual Butterfly Gala raises funds for Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Child, 11, accidentally shot in the chest at Alberta religious colony

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Case of man charged in fatal Salmon Arm church shooting adjourned until May

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Most Read