Courtenay firefighters answer call to fight fire near Fort St. James


WATCH: There are several volunteer firefighters from Vancouver Island battling fires elsewhere in B.C.. On Monday night, the Courtenay Fire Department got the call requesting help to fight the wildfires and on Tuesday morning, four of their members answered. Kendall Hanson reports.

Four Courtenay Firefighters are responding to a call well outside their normal area. On Tuesday, they arrived at the Duke Point Ferry terminal en route to northern B.C.

“Courtenay has been called by the province again,” said Capt. Tony Hryko with the Courtenay Fire Department. “There’s a state of emergency. The fire commissioner called us last night to see if we could deploy up to Fort St. James.”

They’re heading off to fight the Shovel Lake fire, which is now more than 50,000 hectares in size. It’s 54 kilometres southwest of Fort St. James and there has been an evacuation order and alert for those living close by.

“We’ll probably be doing structure protection,” said Hryko. “That’s what we’re mostly trained for.”

“We make sure all the foliage and all the firewood and anything that might burn against the structure is taken away,” said Lt. Ken Manning with the Courtenay Fire Department “That sprinklers are installed on the eaves so that we can wet down the roof. There’s a lot of preventative work that goes with what we do.”

It’s the second year in a row the province has called upon the Courtenay Fire Department. Last year, some of these same firefighters helped fight a fire near Clinton.

“A lot of us enjoy just helping out so this is another thing to help out the province,” said Hryko.

“I was really excited,” said Russell Toneff with the Courtenay Fire Department. “I’ve been doing it for a while so I was itching at the bits and ready to go.”

They have been told the deployment could last up to 10 days.

A joint crew of Sooke, Metchosin and Langford Fire firefighters are also heading for Fort St James on Tuesday night to help with the wildfires.

Courtesy Langford Fire Department


Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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