Second fire in two days keep North Thompson firefighters hopping

A Fire Engine can be seen being transported on the Little Fort Ferry across the North Thompson River to attend a grass fire on the other side on April 25, 2022.  When there is a fire on the east side of the river, tenders and fire engines from the west side must off-load their water (due to the weight) in order to cross on the ferry, then refill their tanks on the other side before attending the blaze. (Blackpool Fire Rescue photo)
Multiple firefighting agencies responded to a grass fire along the railway tracks behind a ranch across the North Thompson River in Little Fort the evening of Monday, April 25. (Pam Jim Photo)
Multiple firefighting agencies responded to a grass fire along the railway tracks behind a ranch across the North Thompson River in Little Fort the evening of Monday, April 25. (Blackpool Fire Rescue photo)
Little Fort and Blackpool crews had attended another fire ignited near the train tracks in the Blackpool area early Sunday evening. It appeared someone had used Tannerite, a brand of explosive target, and left the blaze unattended. Fortunately, firefighters were able to get the situation under control. (Blackpool Fire Rescue photo)

Multiple firefighting agencies responded to a grassfire along the railway tracks behind a ranch across the North Thompson River in Little Fort the evening of Monday, April 25.

“Little Fort Fire, Blackpool Fire Rescue and Clearwater Fire Department responded, and a couple of CN crews also jumped in to help,” reported Blackpool Fire Rescue Chief Mike Savage.

Chu Chua Fire was also called and ready to help if needed, but stood down once crews had gained control of the fire.

“As a group we worked quickly to gain control of this fire as the winds began to pick up,” said Savage.

Savage added that when there is a fire on the east side of the North Thompson River, tenders and fire engines from the west side must off-load their water (due to the weight) in order to cross on the Little Fort Ferry, then refill their tanks on the other side before attending the blaze.

Once there, the initial attack was in trying to stop the fire from heading to buildings. But the firefighters kept hopping and going to both sides of the tracks to keep it contained due to the wind.

“The fire was right up to the hay shed,” said Little Fort Fire Chief Kam Jim. “The wind was awful. Sudden gusts blew smoke right at us and forced the fire in the opposite direction, as well as with it.”

Thankfully, the crews won the battle in stopping the fire from consuming any buildings, and were then able to knock it down and extinguish it.

“We are so fortunate that so many of the firefighters have taken the wildfire courses and now some of the fire departments have special trucks dedicated for this type of fire,” said Little Fort resident Pam Jim. “All trains were stopped until the fire was out. Little Fort Fire also picked up a couple of pipeline workers who were equipped and ready to assist.”

Just one day earlier Little Fort and Blackpool crews had attended another fire ignited near the train tracks in the Blackpool area early Sunday evening. It appeared someone had used Tannerite, a brand of explosive target, and left the blaze unattended. Fortunately, firefighters were able to get the situation under control.

Area residents say this is a scary start to the fire season, and emergency crews are reminding people to keep their cigarette butts contained, to use caution when out on the back roads, and to be fire smart.

“We can’t stress enough that the grass is dry and wind gusts can be your enemy,” concluded Savage.



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