KAMLOOPS – The province is in a state of emergency and Kamloops Fire Rescue is staying vigilant by responding in numbers to every reported fire, no matter how small.
"We aren't taking any chances. Any little fire can become a big fire very quickly," Platoon Capt. Troy Grant says.
Firefighters put out a brush fire downtown on Saturday, July 8, a fire in the Heffley Creek Landfill yesterday evening and one small fire in Westsyde this morning, July 10.
The fire in downtown Kamloops on West Victoria Street on Saturday at 6:38 p.m. behind Spoke and Motion was likely started by people. Grant says smoke was visible on the Summit bypass and crews got it under control quickly.
The brush fire grew to about 50 feet by 40 feet and Grant says it was likely sparked by a cigarette butt.
"We expect it was due to smoking. There was nothing around, no electricity or anything else," he says.
"Everyone needs to be extremely vigilant now. The City of Kamloops has closed nature parks. It's obvious to us that people shouldn't be smoking near parks but not every one follows that," Grant says.
For a list of the parks the City has closed go here.
Yesterday evening around 8 p.m., crews responded to a call near the city limits of a fire at the Heffley Creek Landfill about 50 feet by 50 feet in size. It was in the northwest corner of the dump and about 100 feet from heavily forested area. Four firefighters put out the fire and it's now 100 per cent contained.
Grant says forestry firefighters or the volunteer fire department would normally handle fires in that area, but city crews weren't taking any chances.
"In such high fire conditions it was a threat to enter the city if it escaped the bounds of the dump. Normally we do not leave city limits to put out fires. But, we are tasked with protecting the City of Kamloops right now," Grant says.
He says decisions are made on a call-by-call basis and crews will respond to something like a minor vehicle fire if they decide it's a threat to the city.
At 9:30 a.m. today, July 10, crews responded to a minor garden fire in Westsyde. The residents sprayed it with garden hoses until crews arrived. Officials do not know what caused the fire.
"It was small in nature but even a small fire evokes a major response right now. We are sending crews in numbers," Grant says.
While fire department management isn't calling extra crews in for shifts, as a precautionary measure they are limiting time off and holidays.
"We are taking some precautions to have more manpower than we normally would," Grant says.
He's urging everyone to take caution everywhere during this time of high fire danger rating.
"Everywhere we have to be careful, but especially in wide open spaces," he says.
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