Williams Lake’s fire chief says it is already pretty dry out there.
“Honestly, the next month and a half will dictate how our season is going to go,” Erick Peterson told the Tribune Tuesday. “We need it to be moist and not too hot.”
On Monday evening around 10:30 p.m., the Williams Lake Fire Department (WLFD) attended a grass fire on the Soda Creek Road area beyond the mills.
“It is believed it was started by a train. We were on scene for about an hour,” Peterson said. “There’s a substantial fire in the Kamloops area right now and the suspected cause is a train.”
In anticipation of the upcoming wildfire season, the WLFD is preparing by doing some additional training and community education.
Two weekends ago 15 members got their S100 – the basic wildland firefighting course.
During the Tuesday night practices in May half of the crews are going out canvassing door-to-door handing out a one-page FireSmarting flyer. They went to Esler last week, were doing Esler and Dog Creek Road area on May 14, and next week they will go back to the Dog Creek Road area.
In 2018, they focused on Fox Mountain and South Lakeside.
“People want to talk and tell us their story, which is great,” Peterson said.
The flyer explains three different zones of FireSmarting around their home and out from there.
“A lot of the houses we are going to have already started some FireSmarting activity. Everyone is quite aware. Some of the others maybe not so much, but we are giving them the information and encouraging them and saying, ‘heh, you check out the neighbour two doors down, they’ve done a really good job.’”
Another preparation move is getting the structural protection unit ready to be deployed to other areas or if needed in the Williams Lake area.
In 2017 the unit was deployed by the Province for about seven weeks, stationed at the Shovel Lake, Francois Lake and Nadina Lake fires.
“The Office of the Fire Commissioner, before they will let us go out into the field, need to make sure that we meet their basic requirements for equipment on the truck,” Peterson explained. ” It’s quite an extensive list and it changes from year to year. Every year they add a few things — more pumps or hoses, whatever the requirement might be.”
Crew members are all trained to used the structural protection equipment and when deployed, five go at a time for a seven-day rotation.
The fire hall will be hosting its annual open house on Sunday, June 2.