A lumber yard that appeared to be completely destroyed by fire last week is back up and running at a limited capacity.
The massive blaze broke out at Mardan Lumber Sales Thursday (June 3), closing Highway 97 between Grandview Flats and Tonasket roads, 17 kilometres north of Vernon near Round Lake.
The Okanagan Indian Band, BX-Swan Lake, Armstrong-Spallumcheen and Coldstream fire departments tackled tall flames from the ground, while BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) actioned from above with an air tanker and helicopters. The fire is currently classified as being held, with active winds having fanned the blaze to four hectares in size last week.
But before the blaze got out of hand, owner Marv Crombie said his crew was able to save one of its mills, two forklifts and a loader — enough equipment to complete the lumber orders that were destroyed by the fire, though the yard’s future remains uncertain.
“We’re trying to fill the orders up that burned,” Crombie told the Morning Star June 8. “We’ve moved the one mill back in and are back in production to re-cut the orders.”
Once those orders have been filled, Crombie said his team will take a hard look at how they’ll move forward from the devastating blaze long-term.
“We’re going to think things over very seriously and decide on our future, but right now we don’t know.”
The fire is suspected to have been human-caused, BCWS said last week. However, Crombie said the fire started away from the production area.
“It had nothing to do with our production, and we don’t know why it started,” he said.
It was the second fire to break out at Mardan in recent years; the first took place in May 2016.