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Cherry Creek water tender stationed in Kelowna

Alberni volunteer fire crews on standby for BC wildfires
Cherry Creek VFD Chief Lucas Banton, right, and fire captain Jeff Findlay work with another firefighter with the water tender from Cherry Creek during the Williams Lake wildfire. LUCAS BANTON PHOTO

Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Department’s water tender truck and two-person crew are back in BC’s Interior, on call to fight wildfires.

Fire Chief Lucas Banton and firefighter Pat Edwards took the tender to Kelowna, where they have been waiting on standby for the past week.

“Staging is set up (in Kelowna) so they can move resources anywhere in the province based on need,” Banton said.

This is the second time Cherry Creek crews have gone to the Interior to help out: Banton and Jeff Findlay took the tender to Williams Lake last month and were put to work.

Cherry Creek Firefighters ‘humbled’ by wildfires

A second two-person crew consisting of 1 Sproat Lake Deputy Chief Rick Geddes and Cherry Creek firefighter Mike Albrecht were due to relieve Banton and Edwards Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s another crew coming up to relieve us,” Banton said from UBC in Vancouver, where he was filling out paperwork and waiting for the new team to arrive.

The teams are rotating out after spending a week in the Interior. “We’re finding a week is probably the best,” Banton said; the volunteer firefighters are taking time out of their regular jobs to help with the wildfires.

Cherry Creek also made arrangements to backfill their own firehall with another water tender, “just so we had extra capacity and we weren’t left short in Cherry Creek,” he said.

Cherry Creek can also draw on mutual aid from surrounding fire departments, he said. “We’re covered by other fire departments if we need help and we help them out if they need it.”

Cherry Creek is not part of the Alberni Valley fire departments’ automatic aid response, however, it’s a work in progress, Banton said.

“We’re just getting it drafted,” he added.

Smoke rises from the Williams Lake wildfire, in BC’s Interior. Cherry Creek Volunteer Fire Dept sent a water tender to help in Williams Lake, and the truck is now on standby in Kelowna. LUCAS BANTON PHOTO
Smoke from the Williams Lake wildfire turns the sun a neon pink. LUCAS BANTON PHOTO
Cherry Creek Fire Department’s water tender can be seen against the smoke rising from the Williams Lake wildfire. Volunteer firefighters are switching shifts to stay on standby with the tender. LUCAS BANTON PHOTO

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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