Five firefighters from the Shuswap have headed south to help protect structures that may be threatened should the Stickpin fire in Washington State move across the border near Grand Forks.
The firefighters are part of a specially trained structural protection firefighting team. With the pending threat, the Office of the Fire Commissioner asked for the deployment of additional trained firefighters, so this crew was put together.
While the Shuswap has special equipment used to protect structures threatened by fire, the equipment is staying put, but the crew is going down to use equipment already in place.
“At 2 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday) we were asked if we could send some firefighting resources down, and within a few hours we were able to pull together a five-person crew, a mix of members from various fire departments, and they were down there by 11 p.m. last night,” says Kenn Mount, CSRD’s regional fire chief.
The crew members include: Marc Zaichowsky (Captain Tappen Sunnybrae Fire Dept.), Mike Zdebiak (Scotch Creek Lee Creek Fire Dept.), Scott Davies (Crew Leader; Captain Shuswap Fire Dept.), Darnell Krussel (Ranchero Deep Creek Fire Dept.) and John Quilty (Salmon Arm Fire Dept.)
Salmon Arm Fire Chief Brad Shirley says the partnership on the structural fire crews is excellent and notes that structural protection efforts can achieve substantial results when used as a precautionary measure in areas where fire experts predict a fire could spread.
Mount explains the specialized sprinklers and pumps deployed by the firefighters can dampen the area and create a “humidity dome” around a structure, protecting it from catching fire.
The local team can be deployed for up to two weeks, depending on the fire situation. Similar crews were used this year at the Bolean Lake fire to help protect the Bolean Lake lodge and other structures.