Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

Boston Bar and Chilliwack River Valley fire departments are stepping into the fight against B.C. wildfires, manning their fire halls with strike teams during peak fire times.

Crews of three people will be stationed at the Boston Bar/North Bend Volunteer Fire Department and the Chilliwack River Valley Volunteer Fire Department during the day, with Popkum firefighters assisting Boston Bar to fill their spaces. The ‘strike teams’, as the three-person crews are called, were a request from the BC Wildfire Service and will be in place until at least Monday.

“These are both volunteer fire departments, unmanned during the day, so their members respond from work or home, or wherever that may be,” said Reg Dyck, manager of emergency services for the Fraser Valley Regional District.

“Having people at the hall, ready to go at a moments notice, it just provides that extra time that can make the difference between seeing the fire spread or maybe knocking down something quite quickly.”

The crews are stationed at the halls from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the hottest time of day when temperatures are high and humidity low. During these times fires are more aggressive said Dyck, who spent 25 years as a volunteer firefighter, fire chief and trainer. In the morning before 10 a.m. and in the evenings until 10 p.m., firefighters have to be within a thirty minute response time.

The strike teams are made up of firefighters who have gone through wildland fire training, as well as being physically ready for the “not very pleasant work” which could await them if fire strikes.

“All our firefighters, it’s incredible work they’re doing. It’s very, very difficult work,” Dyck said.

The Chilliwack River Valley has two small wildfires burning near Slesse Park — one .25 hectares and the other .01 hectares. Boston Bar has had small wildfires start in the community this summer, none are currently burning.

The number of human-caused fires across the province is unacceptable, said Jason Lum, Chilliwack councillor and FVRD board chair. He implored people to be smart when going out into the natural environment this weekend.

“We’ve got tinder-dry conditions across the regions, we’ve got fire bans across the region, so we’re really just asking people to be very fire smart, obey all the fire bans that are out there. For smokers who are out there, do not flick your cigarette butts out your window,” he said.

“These volunteers working basically around the clock, these strike teams working 14-hour shifts — it’s not just them, it’s their families. It’s all the things they’re giving up to keep us fire safe.”

BC Wildfire are reassessing the need for these strike teams twice a week, looking at the fire conditions and weather.


Is there more to this story?


news@hopestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo Clippers goalie steals a win from Chilliwack Chiefs

Landon Pavlisin was outstanding in the Clipper net, leading Nanaimo to a 2-1 road victory.

New Chilliwack YMCA was ‘worth the wait’ say visitors

Family Day will mark officially opening for new building, after sneak peek tours on Saturday

More people in Chiliwack coming in to shelters to get out of the cold

Ruth and Naomi’s went over-capacity this week to accommodate shelter guests coming in from the cold

Prominent Chilliwack realtor says he doesn’t know how child porn got on his computer

Closing arguments heard in Ian Robert Meissner’s trial for accessing and possessing child pornography

Q&A with federal Liberal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Francois-Philippe Champagne visited the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 123

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Stabbing at Lower Mainland banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Most Read