Skip to content

North Shore firefighters protect fire-ravaged West Kelowna neighbourhoods

Crews from all three fire departments in North Vancouver and West Vancouver have been sent to the Interior to help protect local homes from wildfires still burning there.

Firefighting crews from all three North Shore fire departments are in stationed in fire-ravaged Interior communities this week, helping to protect homes against wildfires still burning there.

Crews from the District of North Vancouver, West Vancouver and City of North Vancouver all arrived in Kelowna over the weekend, joining firefighters from across the province in helping to protect communities still threatened by wildfire.

A crew of four North Vancouver City Fire Department members and a fire engine arrived in West Kelowna Saturday evening and have been working up in the hills above the city as part of a structural protection unit, said Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Payne.

Payne said firefighters have been staying at UBC’s Okanagan campus but are required to be self-sufficient if need be, with tents, sleeping bags and food supplies.

Five West Vancouver Fire & Rescue members also arrived in West Kelowna Friday along with a trailer carrying special sprinkler equipment capable of protecting a few homes. 

At some points, just two fire crews oversaw protection of up to 50 large homes, said Deputy Chief Gord Howard.

That crew and another senior fire officer from West Vancouver have been working both in West Kelowna and further north in Lake Country, he said.

District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services has also sent a crew and equipment to Kelowna, who have also been working in West Kelowna and Lake Country areas.

On Monday, Premier David Eby, Forests Minister Bruce Ralston and Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management, thanked firefighters from across B.C. for stepping up to help with the unprecedented fire situation.

Ralston said Monday there are now more than 652 structural firefighters deployed in co-ordination with the BC Wildfire Service, which is “a record number for joint wildland and structural firefighting response in this province.”

“We are immensely grateful to all our partners who continue to show up when we need them most,” he said.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, progress has been made on the fire in West Kelowna, although heavy smoke has impacted the ability of helicopters to fly and provide water bucketing in the area.

Wildfires are also burning in the Fraser Canyon, between Lytton and Boston Bar, and an area including Gun, Downton and Carpenter lakes near Gold Bridge, as well as in the Shuswaps, and in the South Okanagan near Oliver and Keremeos.

Provincial officials also repeated their message about a tourist travel ban to the Interior areas impacted by wildfires, urging visitors not to go there.