Assistant fire chief Des Webster stands beside the Williams Lake Fire Department’s newest acquisition — a sprinkler protection unit. The unit houses equipment designed to protect structures near wildland areas from wildfires.

Assistant fire chief Des Webster stands beside the Williams Lake Fire Department’s newest acquisition — a sprinkler protection unit. The unit houses equipment designed to protect structures near wildland areas from wildfires.

Fire department gets sprinkler unit

The sprinkler protection unit is still so new it doesn’t yet have the decals of the Williams Lake Fire Department to identify it.

The sprinkler protection unit is still so new it doesn’t yet have the decals of the Williams Lake Fire Department to identify it.

It is expected to be an integral piece of firefighting equipment that was acquired by the department and the City in June for use to protect structures in rural areas that border wild areas.

The department’s sprinkler protection unit has the capability to protect between 30 and 40 structures at one time.

The trailer unit contains two 2,500-gallon water bladders, 100 regular sprinkler heads, 30 rooftop sprinkler heads, 9,000 feet of hose, four gas-powered pumps and a generator.

It is intended to be deployed on or near structures in interface areas to protect them from wildfires by raising humidity levels and maintaining moisture.

Although it hasn’t been needed yet this season, Des Webster, assistant fire chief, says it isn’t over.

“I think we’ll get a fire season,” he says. “How bad it will be, who knows? I think it (the unit) will get deployed this year.”

Last year members of the Williams Lake department worked with crews from Coquitlam using a similar unit at Alexis Creek.

The sprinkler unit is owned by the City and leased to the Office of the Fire Commissioner when it is required to be deployed around the province. It will also be used locally. Five crew members are required to operate it.

The department has trained 20 of its members and five members from 150 Mile House department.

The unit cost approximately $100,000.

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