In the midst of B.C.’s worst fire season on record, Sunshine Coast fire departments are working hard to help support communities in need throughout B.C.
Since July 10, Gibsons & District Volunteer Fire Department (GDVFD), Halfmoon Bay Fire Department (HBFD) and xwesam-Roberts Creek Volunteer Fire Department (XRCVFD) have had their pickup trucks deployed with five-person crews made up of firefighters from their respective departments.
The 14-day deployments began in the Vanderhoof area, and moved to Kelowna on Aug 20 as the fires progressed.
The current crew is composed of Kirk Pleasant (crew leader) and Lisa Stiver from the GDVFD, Brynn Clingwall from the XRCVFD and Rick Raymond and Glenn Porter from HBFD.
The team is currently deployed in Kelowna and Lake Country areas, working as a structure protection crew, working ahead of the fire and protecting structures in its path.
GDVFD fire chief, Rob Michael and Halfmoon Bay fire chief Ryan Daley have been requested to fill the roles of task force leaders, and are leading resources in the East Adams Lake Fire-affected area. Michael is there with a Gibsons fire engine and three Sunshine Coast firefighters: Cory Crosby and Nate deBoer from the GDVFD and Erin Wilson from Halfmoon Bay as the engine boss.
On Aug 20, Halfmoon Bay Fire Department also sent their Tender 1 apparatus to help combat the fires. Operating the truck are Lt. Kaiden Deroon and firefighter Art Kartz.
xwesam-Roberts Creek Volunteer Fire Department have also deployed their wildland engine with a crew of three to Seton Portage, which is part of the Bendor Range complex near the Casper Creek wildfire in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. The crew lead is deputy chief Sean Hatanaka, alongside Lt. Russell Monkman and firefighter Ivy Lock.
SCRD emergency management program coordinator Nancy Hughes told Coast Reporter that the deployments are great experience for local firefighters and don't affect local response capability. "We're also ensuring that we are fully covered here on the Coast to handle any fire emergencies," she said. BC Wildfire has an office on the Coast said Hughes, "So if any fire starts in the forest, then they're on it and we're aware of it immediately."
Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.