Kelowna, B.C. firefighter returns home after helping Fort St. John crews battle wildfires

Click to play video: 'Okanagan firefighter returns home after Fort St. John deployment'
Okanagan firefighter returns home after Fort St. John deployment
Okanagan firefighter returns home after Fort St. John deployment – May 28, 2023

Kelowna, B.C. firefighter Scott Graf has returned home following 12 days of defending structures against a number of fires burning in and around Fort St. John.

Graf and his team were part of a structural protection task force, keeping properties and homes safe from both the Red Creek and Stoddart Creek wildfires. They were also tasked with evacuating properties when orders were issued.

“The days are long, like 14- to 16-hour days and you don’t get a day off. You’re busy every day for the two weeks you’re deployed. It gets a little long, so you start to miss home a little bit,” said Graf.

“We are responsible for checking and setting up sprinkler systems on homes and properties. A lot of our work is just kind of in case the fire comes into those properties.”

At the start of the 12-day period in Fort St. John, Graf says conditions were favourable with the Red Creek fire but it didn’t take long for things to change.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Fort St. John evacuation order lifted as Stoddart Creek wildfire continues'
Fort St. John evacuation order lifted as Stoddart Creek wildfire continues

“But when the second Stoddart fire broke out, we were right there so we pulled the truck into the initial attack area and sprayed some water on that, and from there it took off rapidly for the next couple of days.”

In the Okanagan, the fire danger rating in the Kamloops Fire Centre is low, but according to BC Wildfire Service, how long that will last is all dependent on how much rain comes down over the next little while.

“We are kind of getting those warmer temperatures so it will just be dependent throughout the weekend and going into next week and if we happen to receive any precipitation,” said Melanie Bibeau, BCWS Fire Information Officer.

At this time, there are 67 active wildfires burning across the province, with 13 burning out of control.

Story continues below advertisement

“Things are dry, everyone knows that, so people have to be careful out there, lighting fires, campfires, cigarette butts, all those things,” said Graf.

Sponsored content