Fire fire burning bright in the darkness of the night

Fire chief Terry Warren advises residents on what to do in case of a fire this summer.

Nakusp is well into spring, soon to be heading into summer and as the weather gets warmer, it’s also getting dryer. This means an increased risk for fires.

This year, the worry over fires is heightened because of the devastation caused by the fire in Fort McMurray, AB earlier this month.

Terry Warren, chief of the Nakusp Fire Department, remembers a similar event that happened to Nakusp over ten years ago.

“We had fires roaring up the lake, and that was at Arrow Park,” he said. “That’s the same time Kelowna blew up, in the 2003 firestorm.”

He said the embers were landing all over town, and it was impossible to tell if the sun was out.

“We had one (ember) on the river that jumped four kilometres and started a fire,” he said. “We were doing patrols up and down, we had a Langley truck and an Abbotsford truck out here helping us, and our big truck was only two minutes away.”

Some things a person can do to protect their home in case of a fire include keeping roofs and gutters clear of debris; keeping lawns mowed, and decks swept, and making sure tree needles, leaves, and other forms of debris have been raked up. Every household should also have an emergency “go” bag. This bag should be kept in a safe place, and contain all important papers, such as birth certificates and photos.

One way to keep abreast of any potential emergencies is to sign up for the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Emergency Alerts system.

If an emergency happens, a person is notified via text, email and/or automated voice on their land line about what’s happening, along with being provided with instructions, links, and maps to keep them informed.

Because Nakusp is on a lake, there is the worry of a flooding. However, if any kind of water damage does take place in town, it’s more likely to be caused by plugged culverts or improper drainage.

Warren recalls one such time when drainage on the hospital roof wasn’t done properly, and the building had to be evacuated.

“We moved patients over to the elementary school and set them up in there,” he said. “We had fire crews going and pumps set up and everything. It was a hectic night.”

Though the village has received a bit of rain over the last few days, Warren urges residents to be careful as the weather gets warmer.

“In fire season keep your eyes open, keep your ears open and if you see anything, please let the forestry people know.”