Comox firefighters help contain Dog Mountain fire

Seven firefighters from Comox FD lend a hand

  • Jul. 15, 2015 6:00 a.m.

This photo shows the proximity of the fire to one of the homes the Comox Fire Department crew was called on to protect.

As one of 12 structural protection specialists in the province, Gord Schreiner’s phone has been busy.

As the fire chief of the Comox Fire Department, Schreiner, along with six other firefighters from the department, recently returned from the Dog Mountain fire on Sproat Lake near Port Alberni.

“The biggest challenge (to fighting the fire) is not knowing when you’re coming back. Sometimes you get an hour to pack your bags, and you have to expect to be gone for up to 14 days,” he explained.

The Comox firefighters were tasked for about a week to lend their skills to fight the aggressive forest fire, in which they were able to protect and save many structures, some even with flames within feet of the building.

“There’s 21 structures on the peninsula, and the only access is by water. We deployed our structural protection trailer which we developed 10 years ago. Between forestry, ourselves and the helicopters (dropping water), we all played an equal role in saving the structures and keeping the area wet.”

The fire – which is believed to be human caused – grew to more than 400 hectares, but is now 100 per cent contained.

Schreiner said his firefighters practise with the trailer between 10 and 20 times a year and credits their knowledge and skills to being one of the main keys to knowing what to do when they arrived in the area.

“You’re literally put to work within minutes of hitting the ground,” he added, and noted the specialized protection trailer owned by the Town of Comox was one of the first on the Island.

“You never know what you’re getting into. It was a water-only access, with very steep terrain and a ton of stairs.”

Schreiner said the fire started on the top of the mountain, and came down on the cabin-side.

Fire generally doesn’t burn downhill, he added, but it worked its way down to the lake.

In total, the fire department used more than 5,000 feet of hose and about 60 sprinklers. The team had to keep everything wet – from decks to homes and even the wharfs where their pumps sat to prevent them from catching on fire.

Working 12-hour days, the seven-member crew returned Friday, and Schreiner said he has already received calls this past weekend for assistance in Prince George and Williams Lake.

He notes he expects more calls over the summer. There are  20 to 40 protection trailers in the province, with many located in the Lower Mainland.

 

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Basket raffle a Comox Valley Child Development Association Children’s Telethon tradition

One-stop Christmas shopping with Winner Takes All Basket rffle

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

Golden anniversary for G.P. Vanier Thursday

It was a day of celebration for students, educators and administrators past… Continue reading

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Most Read