Wildfire preparation foremost on the minds of prospective Oliver residents - InfoNews

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Wildfire preparation foremost on the minds of prospective Oliver residents

The Heards plant to equip themselves with pumps, fire hoses, generators and water storage totes when the relocate to the Oliver area, with equipment similar to that used to fight the Riske Creek fire last summer.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED
March 28, 2018 - 9:00 PM

OLIVER - Soon-to-be residents of the South Okanagan — who experienced the wrath of a wildfire first hand — will be taking the lessons learned with them when as they relocate to the valley later this year.

Tegan Heard and her husband lived in Riske Creek near Williams Lake last summer when several large wildfires burned in the region.

The Heards, eight-year residents of that community, were put on evacuation order but with horses and chickens to look after they decided to stay and fight the wildfire alongside several neighbours.

“(B.C. Wildfire) pulled out a couple of times and it was just the community - loggers, ranchers and neighbours - who saved our homes, although we lost two houses unfortunately,” Heard says, adding the couple had vehicles ready and an escape plan in place in case they were forced to flee.

Earlier this year, the Heards purchased property in the Oliver area after finding themselves too far away from family and friends in the Lower Mainland.

“We’ll be much closer to family and friends, but we will still have the small town living,” she says.

After staying on their property to fight off the Riske Creek wildfire near Williams Lake last year, Tegan Heard is using her experience to be wildfire prepared when she moves to the Oliver area in late May this year.
After staying on their property to fight off the Riske Creek wildfire near Williams Lake last year, Tegan Heard is using her experience to be wildfire prepared when she moves to the Oliver area in late May this year.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Tegan, who works in the financial industry, says they were attracted to Oliver because her husband grew up spending summers in the nearby Gallagher Lake area. Their new property will have room for her horses and chickens.

They are also taking the experience and lessons learned from fighting the Riske Creek fire with them when they move to the Okanagan at the end of May, just in case they are threatened by wildfire again.

She recently put a notice out on social media looking for 200 to 300 gallon industrial totes that could be used to hold water in an emergency.

Her list of firefighting items includes everything from shovels, hoses, hose connections and sprinklers, plus ladders to access roofs and water pumps capable of delivering firefighting pressures to a wired-in 220-volt generator.

Heard advises horse owners to write the name of the horse on its feet or braid plastic into its mane for identification.

She also recommends having a supply of canned goods on hand. In their case last summer, they went a month without shopping because once they left their property they wouldn’t have been allowed back.

Bottled water and some recreational beverages should also be stockpiled.

“Keep a supply of alcohol on hand. It may not be politically correct, but it definitely kept our crew going last year,” she says.

“My husband and I stayed and fought for our home in Riske Creek. If a fire happens once we move to Oliver we will do the same. We have livestock and will not risk losing our home either.”


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