Four of the over 180 firefighters involved in combating the Little Fort fire complex take a break while cold-trailing near the southeast corner of the Thuya Lake fire. From left to right are Colby Olsen, Steffan Brown, Casey Hawkay and Gracie Wilson.

Four of the over 180 firefighters involved in combating the Little Fort fire complex take a break while cold-trailing near the southeast corner of the Thuya Lake fire. From left to right are Colby Olsen, Steffan Brown, Casey Hawkay and Gracie Wilson.

Valley Voices: Firefighters cold-trail Thuya Road fire

Valley Voices of the Past

The following is a story and photos compiled by former Times editor Keith McNeill of a tour he attended during the 2017 wildfire season. The piece was published online July 23, 2017.

With cooler and wetter weather last week, fire crews were able to get a hand on the Thuya Road fire and the Dunn Lake fire, although both were listed as out of control as of Sunday.

Crews had the Thuya Road fire 90 per cent contained and were working their way in from the perimeter, cold-trailing to find and extinguish any hot spots.

Although not so spectacular as firefighting in the movies, cold-trailing is important work and needs to be done carefully and aggressively to be effective.

The Thuya Road fire was estimated at 556 hectares.

Total resources on the two fires in the Little Fort fire complex were listed as 268 firefighting personnel and 14 pieces of heavy equipment, plus structural protection units (regular fire departments) and air tankers, as needed.

The Dunn Lake fire was estimated at 3,035 hectares and 50 per cent contained. Crews continued to wet down hot spots on the perimeter, with a focus on the northern and eastern flanks, while supporting CN crews working on flare-ups along the rail corridor as needed.

The Thuya Road fire was located southwest of Little Fort while the Dunn Lake fire was northeast of that community during the 2017 wildfire season.



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Casey Hawkay (l) and Steffan Brown check blackened moss for heat as they cold-trail along the perimeter of the Thuya Lake fire on Saturday.

Casey Hawkay (l) and Steffan Brown check blackened moss for heat as they cold-trail along the perimeter of the Thuya Lake fire on Saturday.

Colby Olsen checks for hot spots under a rock as he cold-trails the perimeter of the Thuya Lake fire.

Colby Olsen checks for hot spots under a rock as he cold-trails the perimeter of the Thuya Lake fire.

Firefighter Gracie Wilson looks carries her pulaski on her shoulders.

Firefighter Gracie Wilson looks carries her pulaski on her shoulders.

Casey Hawkay carries a shovel while Steffan Brown wields a gorgi - a type of pulaski adopted for clearing duff.

Casey Hawkay carries a shovel while Steffan Brown wields a gorgi - a type of pulaski adopted for clearing duff.