While many events took place on Canada Day in Nakusp, one in particular, which was both unplanned and unwanted, grabbed the attention of residents.
A fire at the Box Lake Lumber Mill broke out early in the afternoon and had the local fire department rushing to contain the blaze. They sprayed the blaze with both foam and water. Heat from the flames could be felt from at least 30 feet away, and the crackle of wood could be heard as it was consumed by the fire.
Throughout the afternoon, rain started to fall, but it wasn’t enough to be of much assistance. Several things at the mill had already gone up in smoke.
“We’ve lost one loader, a chip pile, and now our logs and our waste pile,” said Brad Weibe, brother of the mill’s owner. “Our scale shack and our shop is also gone.”
About an hour after the fire department arrived, members of the RCMP came on the scene and after talking with members of the fire crew advised all those who were not working to put the flames out to move back to the highway. An air tanker was on its way, and they wanted to be sure residents were safe. Three planes arrived shortly after, one spotter, and two others to drop flame retardant on the fire.
Two hours after the first planes dropped their first rounds of retardant, four skimmer planes from Kamloops arrived, dropping a mixture of water and foam one after another. By about 9 p.m. the blaze had been contained, but some staff remained overnight to keep watch, just in case it flared up.
While some parts of the mill are gone, residents will be very happy to know the main building, the mill itself, is safe.
“If you get wind (blowing) on that roof, this mill is going to be gone,” said Weibe.
The mill employs about 40 people in the area. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.