While Silver Creek residents could see what appeared to be planes fighting a wildfire on July 13, it turned out looks were deceiving – and alarming for some.
BC Wildfire Service reported the aircraft seen dumping what looked like fire retardant on Monday afternoon in the direction of Falkland above Yankee Flats were only practising.
Fire information officer Gagan Lidhran said two air tankers and one bird dog were carrying out training between Salmon Arm and Kamloops.
She said normally at this time of year BC Wildfire Service’s contractors would have been working on real fires by now.
“Our contractors need to keep practising to ensure they maintain that level of proficiency when actual fires start.”
Lidhran said they were not dropping retardant used on the fire line, but a water based solution with some retardant residue from the air tankers.
Meanwhile, the site of aircraft appearing to fight a fire relatively nearby was worrying for at least one Silver Creek resident.
“We had no idea what was going on and multiple loads of red retardant were being used,” Blu Hopkins told the Observer. “I have PTSD and I was really upset and anxious after being evacuated twice before from our home. It was extremely inconsiderate and irresponsible for the wildfire service to conduct this type of training exercise in this area in particular, without informing the residents of Silver Creek that this was happening.”