Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue has sent a replacement team to relieve Firefighters Ponsford and Byrne after an exhausting week battling the fires in northern British Columbia. Firefighters Eric Taylor and Warren Nuyens are the second team to deploy from Salt Spring Island.
Ponsford and Byrne are on route home for some well-deserved rest. Ponsford and Byrne spent the last few days fighting the Verdun Mountain fire and working night operations with other BC Firefighters and the BC Wildfire Service. “What we saw at the Verdun Mountain Fire was the tip of the iceberg as far as the size of the fire and the destruction and displacement it has caused”. The Verdun Mountain fire is now estimated to be at 31,413 hectares according to the BC Wildfire Service. SSIFR Firefighter Patrick Byrne also expressed his feelings on the experience “the community support for all the fire crews working up here to contain these fires is deeply moving, heartfelt thanks!”
Our second deployment starts working the interface fire on Verdun Mountain just south of Burns Lake today. The latest reports on this fire was that it had experienced very aggressive fire behaviour this past week. There is rain in the forecast for much of the region which could also bring lightning causing more fires to start.
The state of emergency that was declared by the Province on August 15th 2018 may be in effect for 14 days and may be extended or rescinded as necessary.
I would like to thank both Ponsford and Byrne for assisting our neighbours to the north during one of British Columbia’s worst fire seasons in history. It has been a very long week for many on the frontlines and we wish them all a safe return. Our thoughts continue to go out to all the communities affected by this year’s fire season.