Members of the volunteer fire department in Willowbrook are rotating three members to help fight the Brenda Creek fire near Peachland. (Facebook)

Okanagan firefighters on front lines of B.C.’s biggest wildfires

Several local fire chiefs among crews being deployed

Firefighters from halls around the South Okanagan and Similkameen are being deployed to fight the major wildfires burning across the province.

Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson was quick to be on scene to help out in Lytton when the fires first began, on June 30. He then moved over to the 100 Mile House region where several wildfires are burning, he was for over a week. Watkinson heads the wildfire training for the region’s firefighters.

Keremeos firefighters, including fire chief Jordy Bosccha, just arrived in Cache Creek.

A three-person crew from Keremeos and the fire department’s bush trucks just arrived on Monday and could be there to help fight the blazes in that area for up to two weeks, said Boschha.

Three people from the Willowbrook Volunteer Fire Department are rotating a schedule helping out with the Brenda Creek wildfire.

The Oliver-based fire department said this is the third year they’ve helped out with B.C. wildfires, which adds a lot of experience for fire crews.

A big part of being good at protecting our community comes from training, experience and good equipment, said Willowbrook VFD on their Facebook page.

“The best way we’ve found to achieve this without adding burden to our taxpayers is through wildfire deployments. This week a three-person crew has been working on the Brenda Mines fires near Peachland.

“The experience the crew is receiving is phenomenal and they’ll be able to put this to excellent use when we need to here in our own community. We’ve been rotating personnel in order to ensure as many people as possible get the experience as well as to keep people from being too tired to fight fires here,” said a post from the Willowbrook VFD.

Fire departments get to bill out firefighters and equipment to the province, which greatly offsets taxes rather than having to increase them, according to Willowbrook VFD. This is the third year in a row Willowbrook VFD has been able to support in this way.

READ MORE: Thomas Creek fire grows by 1,000 ha on Sunday

READ MORE: Planned ignition burn on Brenda Creek fire

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B.C. Wildfires 2021