McLeese Lake volunteer fire department members Brad McMillan

McLeese Lake volunteer fire department members Brad McMillan

McLeese Lake firefighters on the job

Even though they aren’t officially a fire department, the volunteer McLeese Lake fire department is responding to fires.

Even though they aren’t officially a fire department, the volunteer McLeese Lake fire department is responding to fires.

“We’ve found out about the fires by seeing the smoke,” member Ian Hicks said.

At the recent Soda Creek wildfire, volunteers arrived first on the ground with two trucks and five firefighters.

They also responded to another fire two months ago on the new power line that goes to the Gibraltar Mine.

“Out of the blue one of my volunteers came down and told me we better go have a look,” Hicks said.

Jumping into a F350, they roared up the road and discovered dozens of little fires burning.

“There was an excavator fully engulfed in flames directly under the power line,” Hicks recalled, adding the first thing they did was call the Cariboo Fire Centre. “I’d like to think we stopped it from becoming a major forest fire. We were running up and down with our response truck putting out all these little fires.”

Hicks credited Gibraltar Mines who originally gave the department $10,000 in seed money which has allowed them to get two trucks on the road and put 14 volunteers through some training.

They’ve also fully relied on bottle refunds, earning $500 to $600 a month from the McLeese Lake volunteer fire department account at Amanda Enterprises in Williams Lake.

“That pays for a lot. We used $160 on gas the other day at the Soda Creek fire. That’s coming right out of our bottles and cans.”

It does sound crazy that emergency services are being paid for by bottles and cans but until the department can prove it has enough volunteers and enough community push it cannot become affiliated with the Cariboo Regional District, he explained.

In the meantime, they are moving forward, argoing to show up and do their best.

“We just try to defend, surround and drown,” Hicks suggested.

“We’re not going inside buildings and we’re not claiming to be super heroes or anything, we’re just at the very basic stage.”


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

Just Posted

Interior Health has issued an overdose alert for 100 Mile House.
Interior Health issues overdose alert for 100 Mile House

Health officials encourage users to be careful and spread the word.

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor (from left) Judy Gibbons and Rajneesh Khugsal, seen here in 2020, are all ready to help people file their taxes. (Patrick Davies photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake volunteers ready to offer community income tax program

Co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor said he has already received inquiries

Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton with her dogs Luigi, left, and Sami enjoys a daily walk in Big Lake. (Photo submitted)
Women’s wellness focus of International Women’s Day events in Williams Lake

In its third year, the event will be offered virtually

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read