Nanaimo deploys firefighters and fundraising to help BC wildfires


A group of Nanaimo firefighters are heading to B.C.’s Interior. Skye Ryan reports. 

A team of Nanaimo firefighters was deployed to the wildfires in B.C.’s Interior on Thursday.

It is the first deployment from Nanaimo Fire Rescue as wildfires in the Interior continue to rage and crews deal with fatigue.

While packing his bags for deployment to the wildfires in B.C.’s Interior, Nanaimo firefighter Brian Mowatt said he couldn’t get there soon enough.

“When this fire started I had family that were evacuated from 100 Mile House,” Mowatt said.  “With this deployment, I’m hoping that we can pay back to the communities and pay back to the province.”

Three other firefighters from Nanaimo Fire Rescue are joining Mowatt. The team was anxious to load up the pumper truck they’re setting off in after finally getting the green light they’ve been waiting for.

“They’re ready to go,” said Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s Acting Fire Chief Karen Fry. “They’re chomping at the bit and I think they’re all really proud of the role that they’re playing here.”

As they set off for Kelowna, where they’ll be given their orders, officials in the Interior are bracing for the potential of more wildfires breaking out. A continued risk of lightning is forecast to move through the area Thursday.

“So once they get on scene they could be deployed in a whole variety of different tasks,” said Fry. “They could be actively fighting structure fires. They could be helping clear barriers or do wildfires and maybe even helping with some of the evacuated persons.”

As the firefighters leave, others in Nanaimo are doing what they can from home.

“I’m raising money for the fire victims on the Mainland,” said Nanaimo resident Paul Dorman.

With friends and family in the affected zones, Dorman is putting posters up in Nanaimo with appeals for people to donate at Island Savings branches. He is also putting donation cans in any stores that will take them.

“It feels good,” Dorman said. “A lot of people have been really gracious and helped us a lot.”

A friend is Dorman’s even planning to donate $30,000 from the sale of a classic car to the cause. Dorman said they want to send that money and truckloads of building supplies to the Interior to help those who’ve lost their homes and are uninsured.

Dorman will take his fundraising effort to Victoria’s James Bay Inn on Friday, July 28. From 11 a.m. onward, he and the car being sold for the cause will be on hand to drum up support for those in need.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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