Westwold man wants you to know the dangers of heading into the bush

Gordie Pringle, right, with his sign that reads "If a fire starts and you are up this road you could be trapped. You could die." August, 4, 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Robbie McAfee

KAMLOOPS - Gordie Pringle, 59, has been standing on Pinaus Lake Road in nearby Westwold for the past two days warning people heading into the back country that they could be trapped and stranded if a fire breaks out.

Pringle says he is a logger but because of the fires he has been unable to work, and after watching what happened at Monte Lake last week he couldn't sit around and do nothing anymore. He decided it was time people started learning the risks of heading into the back country when the fire danger is so high, so he painted his message on a piece of plywood and now stands at the road side, offering his warning to anybody who will stop and listen.

"We have a long weekend coming up and there are a lot of people that will want to go camping," says Pringle who is an avid camper himself but hasn't gone out once this year as his RV is prepared for an evacuation and not a trip into the bush. "I've been talking all week to my wife about how they need to just shut these roads so yesterday is when I started phoning officials."

Pringle says he spoke with several government agencies and he was told they are patrolling the area between Westwold and Falkland off Highway 97, but after sitting at the entrance to the road that connects to several other roads in the area he says he has seen no such patrols.

The reaction of drivers who have come across Pringle and his sign has been varied from people thanking him for the advice and turning around to being sworn and yelled at.

"I had one guy ask me if I thought I was God or something," he says. "I'm not here to tell anybody what to do, I just want them to know the risks if they do choose to go driving in the bush."

Pringle says while he worries for the safety of the people he has been trying to warn he also worries about what they might do in areas like Pinaus Lake which are fairly isolated but are also close enough to properties a fire would be devastating. He says it has gotten to the point that we are having to put a lot of trust in strangers, hoping they will be responsible.

"Most people I know are very conscientious people, but I don't know everybody that goes up these roads," says Pringle. "Monte Lake last week was enough to really get my dander up about this. You just can't trust anybody right now."

The warning comes as the B.C. Wildfire Service announced a ban on all motorized off-road vehicles on Crown lands throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre.

For more information on B.C. Wildfires, go here.

For more information on the off-road vehicle ban, go here.


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