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Fire at Tappen mill erupts again

After fighting a fire in a Lakeside Timber hog pile Wednesday evening, Tappen-Sunnybrae firefighters dwere called back early Friday morning to douse hot spots. - Kyle Schneider
After fighting a fire in a Lakeside Timber hog pile Wednesday evening, Tappen-Sunnybrae firefighters dwere called back early Friday morning to douse hot spots.
— image credit: Kyle Schneider

After being out late last night, Tappen-Sunnybrae Firefighters got an early wake-up call this morning.

A driver passing Lakeside Timber on the Trans-Canada Highway, saw smoke and called 911 at 5:44.

"When we arrived it was still smoking, but by the time we got the lines out, one of them had burst into flame," says fire chief Kyle Schneider, of hot spots that threatened to re-ignite a fire in a hog pile.

Wednesday evening, structural firefighters from Tappen-Sunnybrae and South Shuswap, assisted by a Ministry of Forests initial attack crew and helicopter, responded to a fire that began in large pile of sawdust located near a beehive burner that spread to a pile of railway tiles and trees adjacent to the mill.

Mill employees had worked on tearing the sawdust pile apart during the day Thursday and thought they had extinguished any hot spots.

Schneider says eight firefighters were on-site for 90 minutes Friday morning and made quick work of the new hot spots.

Lakeside Timber officials assured him the hog pile would be torn apart by machines Friday to make sure there were no other hot spots.

As well, they indicated to Schneider that they would have someone on-site to monitor the situation over the weekend.

This is the third time Tappen-Sunnybrae firefighters have been called to the mill.

Two years ago, another hog pile caught on fire, but it was in the middle of winter so not as dangerous as in wildfire season.

Eleven Tappen-Sunnybrae firefighters were up late Thursday, attending a call to Robin Road, where an older Ford pickup caught on fire.

Firefighters were paged out at 11:34, arriving on scene to find the truck fully engulfed.

"The flames were reaching up to the power lines and very close to some trees," says Schneider. "We got it extinguished very quickly and looked for hot spots in the trees."

Schneider says so far, firefighters have been lucky in knocking down fires this wildfire season.

With temperatures due to soar higher, both Schneider and the Wildfire Branch are calling for caution.

Most of the Salmon Arm Zone is in high to extreme danger, with no relief in sight until it cools down. And a glance at the weather forecast shows that is not likely to happen any time soon.

Residents and tourist are asked to be vigilant both in putting out campfires and in reporting smoke or flame.

To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on your

cellphone.

 

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