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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

Chilliwack-Kent 2020 provincial election candidates, clockwise from bottom left, Kelli Paddon (NDP), Eli Gagne (Libertarian), Jeff Hammersmark (Green), Jason Lum (Independent), and Laurie Throness, who began the campaign as a BC Liberal but left the party on Oct. 15.
Advance voting nears 5,000 in Chilliwack-Kent

More than 380,000 voters have voted in advance across B.C.

Owen Charpentier, 21, is charged with the Oct. 22, 2019 second-degree murder of Keith Baldwin in Chilliwack. (File)
Pre-trial dates set for Chilliwack man charged with Keith Baldwin’s murder

Owen Dale Charpentier accused in the fourth homicide of 2019 next in court June 2021

The 2020 Rotary Club of Chilliwack Book Sale is moving from Chilliwack Mall to Heritage Park to allow more room for physically-distanced shopping. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rotary Book Sale moves from Chilliwack Mall to Heritage Park

The hugely-popular book sale is going ahead Oct. 25-31 with pandemic protocols in place

Organizers of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival have decided to end the event after more than 20 years. / Bob Friesen File Photo
Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival cancelled – for good

Organizers say the event was so popular that too many people were attending to be sustainable

Massimo Rizzo (Penticton Vees, BCHL), middle, tries to out-maneuver two Team Canada East players during a preliminary game at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge. Team Canada West won the all-Canadian matchup 6-1.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images
Chilliwack Chiefs acquire Massimo Rizzo from Coquitlam Express

Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney has high expectations this season, and this trade is a sign of that

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Surrey teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

Most Read