City emergency forces ready if Kamloops faces wildfire threat

By Doug Collins
August 17, 2017 - 6:09am Updated: August 17, 2017 - 11:08am

KAMLOOPS — While the Elephant Hill wildfire is not on the doorsteps of the City of Kamloops right now, unfavourable conditions could change that in a hurry.

And the city's fire chief says his crews are monitoring the situation closely to ensure residents are kept abreast of any changes in the status of that fire.

Yesterday, some of the residents of Bonaparte and Criss Creek were allowed to return home as wildfire crews keep the boundaries of the fire in check, but Fire Chief Mike Adams says in a news release that while the fire is 40 kilometers away, and poses no immediate threat, the city has prepared a proactive Wildfire Protection Plan just in case.

Adams says the plan includes additional firefighter support and equipment, and if necessary, preparations to execute a measured evacuation, should it come to that.

He says KFR is in daily communication with wildfire officials monitoring the fires very closely.

Recent rain and cooler weather have helped firefighters, but those with experience in dealing with these kinds of fires suggest that if the fire should jump the Tranquille Valley, and the winds were in the right direction, all that stands between the fire and the city is a lot of dead pine beetle wood, and dried grass that could sweep towards Kamloops.

Adams says the city is urging residents to ensure they take their own preventative measures to protect their property as best they can, and have a "go" bag in case things change.

Adams says no one is trying to create undue alarm, but he says being prepared is critical.

In 2003, it took only half an hour for a wildfire to spread up Strawberry Hill near Mount Paul and force the evacuation of Rayleigh and Heffley Creek with very little opportunity for residents to get out. 

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