EDITORIAL: Salute those fighting wildfire

Deaths of three firefighters a reminder of how much these people are putting on the line, both sides of the border.

The deaths of three firefighters in Washington State are a reminder of how much these brave people are putting on the line, on both sides of the border.

Last Wednesday, three U.S. Forest Service firefighters died after their vehicle crashed and was likely caught by flames as they battled the Okanogan complex of fires near the town of Twisp. Four other firefighters were injured including one that was taken to hospital in critical condition.

They were on the initial attack, trying to stop a fire before it could threaten nearby communities – in some cases, their hometown.

Firefighters know how dangerous their jobs can be, whether it is day-to-day operations of our local department or forestry service crews battling major wildfires. But it’s so very easy for the public to take their work for granted, and it’s stunning when such a tragedy happens. Considering the level of danger, it is amazing that relatively few are lost.

Evacuees from the Rock Creek blaze and other fires also are dealing with their personal adversity in loss of homes and livelihoods or the uncertainty of not yet knowing what has been lost. But we who aren’t directly exposed to the fires, complaining about the smoke and ash in the air, and the other inconveniences brought on by fires burning in our region and south of the border, might imagine the risk is small.

The deaths of Tom Zbyszewski, Rick Wheeler and Andrew Zajac show us how great the risk firefighters face is, and continues to be for the thousands of firefighters battling blazes in B.C. and Washington. As you read this, they are still digging in with shovels and axes in searing heat and choking smoke, struggling against so many fires it is hard to keep track.

We want to extend our thanks to these brave men and women who are putting their lives in front of wildfires to protect people and property from devastation and death.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

At-home learning for SD67 students to begin April 6

In-classroom learning remains suspended due to COVID-19

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

COVID-19: BC Transit to limit passengers on Penticton buses

The change is to promote physical distancing

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen cancels April 2 meeting

Staff working to install videoconferencing system during COVID-19 pandemic

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen cancels April 2 meeting

Staff working to install videoconferencing system during COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read