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Firefighters burn for practice

Fire training on East Vernon Road Tuesday night gave members crucial, hands on experience.
Image Credit: Bill Wacey
April 09, 2014 - 11:01 AM

VERNON - After battling a grass fire that sizzled through nine acres of pasture over the weekend, the local fire department hadn’t had enough.

BX-Swan Lake firefighters participated in a planned burn Tuesday night on East Vernon Road.

“It was very successful,” fire chief Bill Wacey says. “We don’t usually get the flame that was produced last night.”

Smoke and flame was visible from afar, leaving some residents concerned. Wacey says every precaution was taken, including mowing the field and furrowing the perimeter so there was “virtually no chance of the fire escaping.”

With 29 members on scene, five fire trucks and plenty of water, the five acre fire couldn’t have been much safer, Wacey says.

The practice blaze facilitates mandatory recertification for interface fire fighting. Firefighters must renew their certification once a year.

“It was good for the new people to see the dynamics of wind,” Wacey says.

Finding a place to practice can't be easy—not everyone will invite you to set a fire on their property. You have to have an in. 

"My retired deputy fire chief is one of the caretakers of that land," Wacey says. 

Experience is gained from unintentionally set fires too. Wacey says Saturday’s grass fire on Old Kamloops Road was a “double bonus round” that gave firefighters further opportunity to train against wind driven flame.

Grass fires are common this time of year owing to the high volume of open burning. Saturday’s fire was sparked by a burn pile that got out of hand as the wind picked up, and it was a similar story last month in Lake Country.

Fire chief Bill Wacey says every precaution was taken to keep the fire from getting out of control.
Fire chief Bill Wacey says every precaution was taken to keep the fire from getting out of control.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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