Saanich Peninsula fire departments answering the call to fight B.C. wildfires

  • Jul. 11, 2017 5:00 p.m.

With more than 230 wildfires already having consumed more than 400 square kilometers of forest and grassland and having forced the evacuation of some 14,000 residents of B.C.’s Interior, the province remains under a state of emergency declared on Friday (July 7).

The disastrous situation has now touched the Saanich Peninsula, not with flames but with an urgent call for help; a call to which most fire departments are responding.

Brett Mikkelson, the Chief of the Sidney Fire Department reported that, in response to a call for assistance from the Province, Sidney will be sending an engine company (that’s one pumper truck and a crew of five fire fighters) to the Williams Lake region to help with fire fighting efforts there. The company is leaving almost immediately and have no real idea for how long they will be deployed.

“That’s entirely situational. In 2003 there was a similar call-out and I was one of the fire fighters who responded at that time. We were out there for about six days, but you never really know,” said Mikkelson.

North Saanich Fire Chief John Trelford said his department is also sending a pumper truck and five fire fighters to Williams Lake — and they were expected to be on the 5 p.m. ferry off the Island today.

“The fires have not yet made it to that city,” Trelford said, adding the crew will find its way to Williams Lake’s fairgrounds for marshalling and will be used where they’re needed.

He said he expects the local fire fighters will aid in preventing structure fires in the Cariboo city — or fight fires if they hit the community. Trelford added North Saanich also last sent fire fighters out of he area during the Kelowna wildfire in 2003.

While the emergency deployment does stretch the capabilities of those left behind, Mikkelson explained that the chiefs of all the Peninsula fire departments have worked out protocols to ensure that the residents of their home communities are kept safe.

Chris Vrabel, the Chief of Central Saanich Fire, explained that his department would not be dedicating any men or equipment to the wildfire situation, based upon the need to ensure the safety of the communities on the Peninsula.

“Right now we’re not comfortable sending any men or equipment, although we have been offered some seats on the companies that are going and I have had a number of our fire fighters volunteer to go, so that situation may change,” said Vrabel.

The response protocols developed for this extraordinary situation will involve all three municipal departments responding to every fire call to ensure enough resources are deployed.

Just Posted

Langford loses bid to host Amazon HQ2

Mayor hopes to attract more tech jobs to city

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

Pedestrian in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being struck in View Royal

Incident closed Island Highway for several hours Wednesday night

Tenants sought for Metchosin elementary school

Cushman Wakefield Ltd. Victoria will be responsible for leasing the space

Monster trucks invade Victoria

Traxxas Monster Truck Tour stops at Save-On Foods Memorial Centre this weekend

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read