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Kitimat four join fire fighting effort in interior

“They knew the fire was on the other side of the mountain”
Chuck Ferguson, Brad Bemis, Adam Taylor and Dan Jerrett. Photo supplied

Kitimat fire figthers Adam Taylor, Chuck Ferguson, Brad Bemis and Dan Jerrett joined the growing army of fire fighters battling the wild fires devastating the interior.

Currently there are more than 3,000 B.C. firefighters, with nearly a thousand out-of-province firefighters from across Canada and Australia, involved in fighting up to 150 active fires.

“We are working in a three-team taskforce which includes Kitimat Fire Department, Victoria Fire Department and Gibsons Fire Department,” said team captain Adam Taylor, while the team was at Loon Lake.

“Our primary tasks were containing spot fires around private dwellings, buildings and property at Loon Lake. It involved lots of grubbing and wetting down where the fire was bedded in the duff.”

He said part of the team’s tasks were also to cut fire guards when necessary and that they work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kitimat fire chief Trent Bossence said the team were first deployed on July 14 and drove through to Williams Lake, taking a fire engine and a support truck with them.

The team was then deployed to Cache Creek and Loon Lake on Sunday, under control of an incident commander assigned to them by the province.

Their first deployment was to protect the sawmills, recognized by the town and the province for their strategic importance to the Williams Lake economy and its residents.

“They knew the fire was on the other side of the mountain and whether or not it came over depended on the wind,” said Bossence. “Waiting and seeing was the biggest thing for them mostly.”

He said the team will be there for between six and 12 days, after which they will be rotated out and another team sent if necessary.

The team members are currently using their holiday time and their days off so that they can assist with fighting the fires.

Bossence said even with the four helping out Kitimat still has enough fire crews to handle any emergencies in town.