“It’s not something you do – it’s something you are.”
On Friday July 14 the Erris Fire Department answered the call for assistance with the firefighting efforts taking place in Williams Lake.
The Erris Volunteer Fire Department’s apparatus’s and trained personnel are registered with the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner. As such, they can be requested to be deployed to other communities throughout BC to support the firefighting efforts within those communities.
On July 14 the BCOFC called and requested resources, and the Erris Volunteer Fire Department offered to send one water tender, along with two members. Firefighter and training officer Corinne Stringfellow, who was evacuated from her own home, and auxiliary firefighter Jake Thiesen, whose home was then under an evacuation alert, volunteered to head out to help the community of Williams Lake.
Deploying these resources out of our area was not an easy decision for Fire Chief Dave Stringfellow to make given the proximity of the Princeton fire to the Erris Fire Protection District. However, given their mutual aid agreement with neighboring fire department Hayes Creek Fire Rescue, there would still be three Water Tenders and 2 Engines to maintain full coverage for the Erris Fire Protection District.
Since July 8 the EFD has been actively involved in the Princeton fire by way of providing trained structural protection personnel to work under the direction of Firestorm Enterprises. The EFD members also conducted regular patrols of the area (including Hembrie Mountain Road) throughout the day and provided water shuttling services where needed.
While house fires are an infrequent occurrence, the threat from wildfire is one that is ever looming, and some of the Erris Fire Department’s training in this past year has focused in this area. The EFD members have been trained in both Wildland firefighting (SPP-WFF1) and Structure protection (SPP-115).
This training has certainly been put to use during this fire season.