Aussie contingent takes command of Princeton wildfire | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Aussie contingent takes command of Princeton wildfire

Australian wildfire firefighters have joined crews battling the Princeton wildfire, giving local crews an opportunity for a much needed break.
July 27, 2017 - 7:30 PM

PRINCETON - Brendan Doyle is part of a 12-man unit from a team of 53 Australian wildfire specialists that were sent here to assist Canadian wildfire crews and give other teams an opportunity for a break.

The group relieved a contingent of firefighters from Saskatchewan four days ago after spending a few days working with them and getting familiar with the fire front on the Princeton fire.

Doyle’s unit is working hot spots, trying to increase the width of perimeter around the fire.

“It’s tough, dirty work, but we are making some progress,” he says.

He says the fire is exhibiting no open flame and very little smoke at this point, and work is focussed on making sure smouldering lumps and hot spots are well away from the fire’s edge.

“A rain event is certainly going to be welcome,” he says.

Doyle says his crew is surprised at the similarities in firefighting methods between Canadian and Australian firefighting crews, but adds the difference in prevailing winds between the North and South hemispheres has taken some time to adjust to.

“Weather systems in the Northern Hemisphere come from a different direction. Our warm winds normally come from the northwest, and it’s almost the opposite here in B.C., where it’s more of a southerly influence, but in terms of how we work on the ground it’s been really great,” he says.

Doyle says Canadian crews given them a warm reception and helped them make adjustments where necessary.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen said in a press release issued July 26, an evacuation alert for the Tulahead Campground at 1818 Highway 5A and a residential property at 1815 Highway 5A has been rescinded.

The alerts may be re-applied should conditions change.

Crews are also at work removing signage and barricades from the Trans Canada Trail. The section between Erris Tunnel and Princeton was closed due to the wildfire, but is expected to reopen by the weekend.

For more information, see the regional district website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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