Two tired impromptu crews took a group selfie after extinguishing a blaze in the backcountry of Manning Park. - Photo submitted

Two families – including seven children – work hours to extinguish backcountry fire in Manning Park

Two families of hikers – including seven children – worked for hours to extinguish a fire in the remote backcountry of Manning Park.

According to Robyn Barker, spokesperson for Manning Park Resort, by the time park staff and a BC Wildfire helicopter arrived, the fire was out and the heroes had moved on.

The incident occurred August 16 near Flash Lake, an area where no camping or fires are permitted.

The father of the first group – which included two boys under the age of eight – saw smoke and decided to investigate after using an InReach GPS satellite to contact his co-workers and ask them to call in a report.

While the man expected to find some backpackers cooking their lunch, he came upon a fire of about five square metres.

“With a dry forest and a concern about an increase in the winds, the fire had the potential to expand quickly,” said Barker.

The husband, whom Baker named only as Rick, sent a second emergency message and began clearing brush and trees to remove fuel from the area.

His wife Andra started hauling water from a nearby lake and the young boys used sticks to pat down extinguished areas and threw small branches into the lake.

Two hours later another couple arrived, with five children, and joined in the effort.

They dumped an estimated 1,500 litres of water on the blaze.

Park manager Andy Boulé had fulsome praise for the quick thinking visitors.

“It is obvious by [their] actions that [they] love the park too and I am proud to have such great stewards and friends of Manning out there helping.”

According to Barker both families are being thanked with a free stay in the park’s new premium cabins and the choice of boat rentals or ski lift tickets.

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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