On Sunday the population of Keremeos will swell as a BC Wildfire Camp in the small Similkameen community goes into operation to continue the fight against the out-of-control Snowy Mountain fire.
The camp will house approximately 250 fire personnel – equating to a sixth of the overall population of 1,502 residents in Keremeos.
The camp will house firefighters, logistics personnel, information officers and contractors.
Fire information officer Noelle Kekula said the camp was originally setup in Princeton shortly after the Placer Mountain fire and the Snowy Mountain fire started on July 17, after a lightning storm swept through the area.
The decision to move the camp was primarily for logistical reasons as the Placer Mountain fire is now considered to be 90 per contained and after a long day working the Snowy Fire they would have to drive about 65 kilometres back to camp.
Since word got out the camp would be moving to Keremeos, local residents have expressed interest in dropping off items to show appreciation for the fire crews’ hard work.
Kekula said that kind of generosity has happened in every community she’s worked in over the last nine years. She added crews always appreciate whatever anyone gives.
“We do have a great cooking staff on 24 hours a day and here’s a fun fact with the contract with us it states they must provide each firefighter with 5,500 calories each day,” she said.
But in saying that she said crews do love coming back from a hard day to home baked goodies and fresh fruit, though, she cautioned moderation is key.
“They do really like coming back after a hard day and eating a home baked brownie someone made for them, but we don’t want everybody in the community to start baking and dropping stuff off because we don’t want to waste either,” she said.
She noted a recent fire near Kelowna where residents dropped off treats.
“It was really great, but it kind of trickled in and was manageable.”
She said those that want to drop-off things can do so at the security area at the camp.
“We get this in every community I have worked in and it’s really appreciated, it really is. What we always say when you see the firefighters in town is to thank them, really thank them or buy them a coffee. A nice thank you, a genuine thank you, is the nicest.”
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