Columbia Shuswap Regional District firefighters were kept hopping over the weekend.
Fire Services Co-ordinator Sean Coubrough had barely arrived home from a structural fire in Celista when he was called out to another fire near Carlin School.
The Celista Fire Department responded to a fire in a garage on the Squilax-Anglemont Road at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
The garage on the property was fully engulfed and the fire had spread to a garage on an adjacent property.
The Celista Fire Department called for mutual aid from the Scotch Creek and Anglemont fire departments, with about 25 firefighters working to quell the flames.
“Both properties had homes very close to the outbuildings so that was our primary concern, but we were able to prevent it from spreading,” says Coubrough. “It was on the lake side of the road and in a very woody area so we did have concerns about it getting into the treed area.”
Firefighters were on scene for about seven hours. The owners of the garage where the fire started were out of town at the time and there were no injuries.
“At this time it’s under investigation. We’re trying to find the exact cause of the heat,” Coubrough says. “People are calling in with ideas about what it was, but everything has to be investigated first.”
With just a couple of hours of sleep time, Coubrough was called out again at 2 p.m. Sunday, this time a house fire on Myers Frontage Road near Carlin School.
Mutual aid Shuswap Fire Department halls 1 and 2 responded and asked the White Lake and Tappen-Sunnybrae departments for mutual aid.
“Crews arrived to find fire venting out of the roof area of the structure,” he says. “The fire was threatening another house that was very close by.”
Coubrough says crews were able to get water on the fire quickly and prevented it from getting into nearby trees although it did discolour one of the pine trees.
The occupant arrived home to find her home in flames and is currently being assisted by Shuswap Emergency Social Services.
“It appears the fire originated on the back deck,” Coubrough says, pointing out an eyewitnesses reported seeing smoke from the deck. “A man working was going to read the riot act about having a campfire but by the time he got to there, it was going up the cedar siding up to the soffits and into the roof.”
There was no campfire, but Coubrough says there was a lot of fuel on the deck in the form of stacked wood and paper.
“We’re trying to find the ignition source of that fuel,” he says. “This is a great time to remind everyone about not storing fuels and combustible papers right against your house.”
Coubrough reminds homeowners to take the initiative to Fire Smart their homes and prevent any buildup of fuels that can support a fire close to their house.
“We’ve had some scary times, but our firefighters have done a great job in containing the fires and preventing them from spreading to the forests,” he says.
Free Fire Smart manuals are available at the CSRD office on Harbourfront Drive, city hall and Firehall #3 in downtown Salmon Arm.