A wildfire near Kamloops that burned over 500 hectares took out many trees, but firefighters worked extra hard to save one old, tall, dead tree near the Sage Meadows Trailer Park.
At the top of the tree, there is an eagle’s nest, with a family of eagles inside.
On Friday night, the winds picked up, and the wildfire burning on East Shuswap Road near Kamloops took off.
“We saw the eagles nest, and the fire coming toward the tree,” local resident Rob Alexander said. “The fire got right to the tree and then started shooting up the tree.”
Helicopters in the area tried dropping water on the tree, but the water was taken by the gusty winds. Firefighters managed to get a hose to the tree, and began work to save it.
“Ten times the tree restarted and it got within about six feet of the eagles and we were crossing our fingers,” Alexander said. “Then they brought the big fire truck up, and, amazingly, at the very end they got it out.”
“I in no way ever believed they were going to be saved,” area resident Caren Punton said. “It was just really heartwarming to see how much effort was put in by the fire department to save those eagles.”
On Sunday, more than 100 BC Wildfire Service personnel remained on the ground fighting the East Shuswap Road fire, along with four water tenders and two helicopters.
Fire information officer Jody Lucius said a break in high winds that complicated firefighting efforts on Saturday have helped crews begin to get an upper hand.
“Crews have been making great progress in controlling this fire and they are continuing to work on full containment of the fire,” she said.
“At this point we are seeing very little growth, which is a positive sign that they are making progress in that area.”
—With files from Jules Knox and Simon Little