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Columbia-Shuswap firefighters respond to blazes across B.C.

Firefighters were deployed to Fort St.John and Tumbler Ridge
Some of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District firefighters deployed to assist with the Tumbler Ridge wildfire. (CSRD-Facebook image)

BC Wildfire called and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District responded.

CSRD was asked to provide fire trucks and crews to help fight wildfires that are ravaging Northern B.C.

In May, a type 2 Engine from Shuswap Fire Department and a type 5 Engine from Scotch Fire Department were deployed to Fort St. John for two weeks.

The Shuswap Fire Department Type 2 engine typically carries 3 or 4 firefighters. It includes a lot of basic firefighting gear and tools, like self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs), circular saws, as well as many different types of specialized equipment. Because of its smaller size it can access areas that the larger trucks cannot.

The Type 5 Engine has a lower pump capacity and typically carries a 300-gallon water tank and a small booster pump with a minimum capacity of 50 gallons per minute. This configuration is common in wildland environments, where they are often referred to as mini pumpers or brush trucks.

On June 8, two trucks and crews were sent on a two-week deployment to Tumbler Ridge to provide structural protection to homes and businesses within the community.

Four person crews accompanied the Shuswap Fire Department Engine 1 and a Type 2 engine from Anglemont.

The Shuswap Fire Department Type 1 truck has 500-gallon water tank and provides a minimum of 1,000 gallons per minute (GPM) of water transfer.

CSRD Deputy Regional Fire Chief Sean Coubrough says these resources were drawn from areas that would not impact fire protection for the local community.

At the beginning of every wildfire season, the CSRD draws up a list of volunteers from across the regional district, including Electoral Area A. There are more than 60 volunteers on the deployment team.

Coubrough received a call from the Office of the Fire Commissioner last Thursday at about 2:30 p.m. By 9 that evening, the two four-person teams were geared up and on the road to Tumbler Ridge.

“These people are willing and able to drop everything at a moment’s notice to answer the call to protect the communities of B.C.,” says Coubrough, who notes this is the earliest the CSRD has ever sent a team on a provincial deployment. “It really speaks to all the members of our fire department and their dedication to the residents of our province.”

READ MORE: Heavy rain and winds coming to Highway 1 between Sicamous and Golden

READ MORE: Shuswap firefighters head north to fight Tumbler Ridge blaze

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