By Keith McNeill
Upper Clearwater’s volunteer wildfire crew has acquired its own firetruck.
The vehicle, which formerly belonged to Vavenby Fire Department, was acquired from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District through an auction process.
Money to buy the truck plus two new Honda high-volume pumps came from various fundraising efforts, including a concert by singer Tim Hus at the Black Horse Saloon at Wells Gray Ranch last October.
Vavenby’s new truck comes to it from Chu Chua Fire Department.
The wildfire crew got its start during last summer’s wildfire season, said crew boss and trainer Steve Murray. The active forest fire season and the downsizing of the Forest Service and Wildfire Management Branch offices in Clearwater left the residents of Upper Clearwater feeling vulnerable.
He noted that Upper Clearwater is outside the zone covered by Clearwater Fire Department and so has no structural fire protection.
At present the crew has just over 20 members with basic training or in the process of being trained.
The crew is well aware of its own limitations, he said. The objective is to hit a fire before it grows too big. If they can’t control it, they will fall back.
A lawyer from Kamloops, working pro bono, has drawn up waiver forms for Upper Clearwater property owners to sign that will allow the fire crew to go onto private property to fight fires. The crew will not go onto property where the owners have not signed.