August 13, 2019 6:12 pm

‘I have never seen anything like it’: Eagle Bluff fire camp staff overwhelmed by community support

The BC Wildfire Service has set up a fire camp at the Oliver Municipal Airport in response to the Eagle Bluff wildfire.

Shelby Thom / Global News
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Chris Fraser has an appetite to please the hundreds of wildland firefighters he feeds every day in Oliver, B.C.

“Breakfast prep is started at 9 p.m. just because we do need ample time, we’re going through 10 cases of bacon a night and I believe its five to six cases of eggs,” he said.

READ MORE: Eagle Bluff wildfire triples in size, regional jail partially evacuated

The kitchen facilities are on the site of a provincial fire camp set up at the Oliver Municipal Airport to support firefighters and logistics staff battling the Eagle Bluff wildfire in the South Okanagan.

WATCH: (Aug. 8) Eagle Bluff wildfire now 1,500 hectares, drivers warned not to stop for a look

“It’s almost like a small town,” said logistics section chief Clint Fenton.

From sleeping accommodations and eating areas to washrooms and office trailers, the camp is completely self-sufficient.

READ MORE: Eagle Bluff wildfire tempered by cooler temperatures, controlled burn

“Being the Southern Okanagan, there really wasn’t any hotel accommodations, they still want to have the town to support tourism,” Fenton said.

“So rather than disrupting the town, we really needed to set up a fire camp.”

BC Wildfire Service staff said they are overwhelmed by the community’s response to their presence in the small town.

“If you’re walking down the street everyone is stopping to say thank you, they’re waving at you, they’re honking, they’re showing all the love that they can,” said branch director Natasha Lewis.

READ MORE: Controlled burn increases size of Eagle Bluff wildfire

“They’ve been dropping by with donations from Timmies and [are] just really supportive, lots of thank yous,” Fenton said.


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WATCH: (Aug. 9) B.C. wildfire crews fighting Eagle Bluff fire prepare for storm

Fraser said there’s been a steady stream of donations to his mobile kitchen.

“I have never seen anything like it and I’ve been doing this for three years.”

The Eagle Bluff wildfire, which broke out on Aug. 4, remains out of control and has scorched more than 2,600 hectares of land.

READ MORE: New evacuation alerts because of Eagle Bluff wildfire north of Oliver

However, it no longer poses an imminent threat to the communities below.

“We do anticipate in the next few days that we may see a bit of an increase in size just because the temperatures are heating up again, so that might increase the fire activity,” said fire information officer Shannon Street on Tuesday.

While all evacuation alerts near the Eagle Bluff fire have been lifted, Street said we’re not out of the woods yet.

“Just keep in mind that this is still an active fire.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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