Wildfire equipment vandalized

BC Wildfire Service needs to replace a radio repeater that was destroyed over the weekend.

BC Wildfire Service needs to replace some costly radio equipment that was vandalized over the weekend.

BC Wildfire Service officials are trying to figure out why someone would destroy their radio equipment, especially when they need it the most.

A radio repeater located on Thompson Mountain in the Southeast Fire Centre was broken into sometime between July 29 and Monday, fire information official Karlie Shaughnessy told the Star on Thursday. She said it will cost between $80,000 to $100,000 to replace the equipment and move it all to a more secure site.

Shaughnessy said the service was lucky none of its firefighters were endangered prior to the discovery of the vandalism. There were 41 wildfires in the area last month.

“The radio repeaters are essential for firefighter safety …,” said Shaughnessy. “It definitely had the potential to endanger our communications with our field staff.”

Shaughnessy said a temporary fix is in place for the time being while new equipment is installed elsewhere. Solar panels on the outside of the repeater were also smashed.

“It took a lot of effort to bust into that,” she said.