Sleep is very precious, said 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief Stan McCarthy.
Last Friday, his department was deployed to the 150 Mile House wildfire at 3:15 p.m. Friday, July 7 and has been working 24/7 ever since.
“We are the highest priority in the province in this area right now,” McCarthy said Wednesday afternoon. “We had the first evacuation alert and the first evacuation order.”
The fire started at Sugar Cane from a lightning strike, spread to 150 Mile and then to Fox Mountain, he said.
“We were the first initial strike team and we stopped the fire on the Likely Road before it got into 150 Mile and the Horsefly Road before it burnt the 50 down. So we saved hundreds of homes.”
Four homes and two shops were lost in the 150 Mile fire, which McCarthy said was not too bad considering the amount of fire that went through.
Praising his “little” fire department, McCarthy said his crews deserve a “big gold star,” for going “above and beyond.”
The fire department used every piece of apparatus it owned, including sending its water truck to Dugan Lake to fill up as in the not too far distance the Spokin Lake Road fire was erupting at the same time and smoke could be seen billowing from it.
Apparatus has been arriving from out of town and keeps coming, McCarthy said.
Fire departments from Abbotsford, Enderby, Coldstream, Lumby, Vancouver, Sugar Cane, Pritchard, Clinton and Miocene are all helping out, he said.
“We have 63 volunteers and a lot of businesses helping us out. Chemo RV brought 15 RVs for us to sleep in the first night, Walmart gave us water, Gatorade and sleeping bags. United Rental brought us a generator and Cantex Okanagan Construction gave us a loads of gravel for our Dugan Lake water pump,” he added. “It’s unbelievable the amount of support we have been getting.”
Restaurants like Denny’s and Boston Pizza have also been feeding them, he added.
“We just keep going working 12 hour shifts.”
Williams Lake Fire Department Chief Des Webster said the fire departments coming from other jurisdictions were brought in as a precaution for Williams Lake as well.
“We housed them in the curling rink Tuesday and now they are in hotels and will be for the rest of their stay,” Webster said.
When asked if the fire department needs anything, Webster said “no.”
“We have supplies and are being looked after,” he said.