A patch of charred grass lays next to Birch Island-Lost Creek Road following a fire on Monday, July 31. The fire occurred on the Moilliet family’s Aveley sheep ranch southwest of Vavenby. According to a passerby, it was caused by a spark from a passing grader.

Quick work stops grassfire

Fire on Moilliets’ sheep ranch near Vavenby could have been worse

On Monday, July 31, Vavenby General Store owner Mike Bayley and his daughter Hannah were following a grader along Lost Creek-Birch Island Road (also known as the back road between Vavenby and Birch Island).

Bayley noticed a spark come from the grader and hit the grass of the Moilliets’ top field next to the road, and then a puff off smoke rise up.

Bayley quickly drove to the Moilliets’ home to tell them. They phoned the fire department while Bayley drove Joseph Moilliet up to the scene, which was at the old Jones’ cabin. When they arrived there was a huge cloud of smoke.

Joseph had already filled a couple of squirt cans with water in case of such a situation. He managed to get the fire out.

When the fire truck arrived the firefighters wet down the approximately 30 feet by 40 feet burned area with more water and foam to make sure there were no hot spots.

The Moilliets consider Mike Bayley their hero for noticing the start of the fire and son Joseph their hero for having the squirt cans ready.

The top field is dry because there is no water source for irrigating it. If Bayley had not noticed the start of the fire and Joseph had not had those cans ready that fire could have taken off back into the bush, up into the trees, and then into the hills.

Vavenby would surely have been evacuated, especially the back road.

Workers from CN and Canfor, plus Vavenby firefighters, put out a grassfire on July 27 near the Canfor-Vavenby sawmill.

Relief fund for wildfire victims

There was a TNRD board of directors meeting in Kamloops on July 20.

At the meeting B.C. Interior Community Foundation’s president Hugh Fallis announced the creation of a wildfire disaster relief fund.

Fallis was the first to contribute to the fund with a cheque for $1,000.