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Unique sprinkler system puts B.C. town at ease as wildfire rages nearby

A small B.C. town is coming up with innovative ways to protect homes against wildfires.

LOGAN LAKE -- The town of Logan Lake is on evacuation alert after a raging wildfire rages nearby, but this community has an extra line of defence against wildfires,

Mayor Robin Smith says the town has just over 2,000 people and is very, very close-knit. 

“We look after each other, everybody knows what everyone is doing, whether you want them to or not,” says Smith with a chuckle. 

Looking after each other is exactly what one of their own has done, Fire Chief Doug Wilson has created a sprinkler system to help protect homes from wildfires. 

“It’s a great sense of security for a very small investment to secure your property,” he says.

The industrial sprinklers, $45 each, are being placed on the roofs of people’s homes and can be connected to a simple garden hose. 

“It’s going to bring the temperature down over the home, probably going drop it a good 12 to 15 degrees on the water temperature, creating a mist over the home,” he says. "Any of the flying embers that come in here from behind here on the interface fires off the crown land will no longer land on my roof and ignite because it’s been drenched.”

It’s a first of its kind and unheard of anywhere else in Canada, according to Wilson. 

“I was kind of shocked when I was told that,” he says. “I know where we could activate these in a hurry to get ahead of the fire if it is incoming.”

Logan Lake, surrounded by forests and large tracts of land heavily impacted by the mountain pine beetle, was the first FireSmart community in all of Canada. 

"Logan Lake has been at the forefront of fire protection and fuel management for a very long time, long before my time,” says Smith. “It makes me feel good to know that we’ve been proactive."

Tremont Creek wildfire is one of the largest fires burning in the province right now, estimated at more than 26,000 hectares and was first discovered on July 12. Over the weekend it moved closer to the community sending them on alert and evacuating the nearby Tunkwa Provincial Park. 

"I don’t remember this much smoke, this heavy, for this long. I don’t think that we have had that before. We are pretty surrounded right now,” says Smith.

The sprinkler system has never had to be used.

“We have not had the opportunity to actually use it, thankfully,” she says. "They’re confident that they could have it hooked up very very quickly.” 

For Wilson, he’s watching closely but says he’s feeling fine and the fire is not close enough for him to panic. 

“Take it one day at a time and hope Mother Nature will cooperate,” he says.

His sprinkler system was so popular, they can’t keep up with demand. 

“We had an increase this year, I’ve got 147 to install this year alone. Supplies are being a challenge to get,” he says.

Soon, half of the town will have the sprinklers installed.