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

Fire chases Burns Lake crews out of their own camp

Crews are having to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

29th anniversary of the missing Jack family

Tortured family begs tipper to come forward

Charges laid in Vanderhoof hotel homicide

A 24-year-old woman from Spirit River, Alta. has been arrested in connection… Continue reading

Rocky days ahead for Vanderhoof

But sometimes rocky days are the best days

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at Victoria’s CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Most Read