Members of the Upper Clearwater volunteer wildfire crew pose with their new firetruck and pumps. The truck was bought by auction from Vavenby’s fire department. Pictured are (back, l-r) Steve Murray, Jerry Kynl, Kurt Raes, Mike Ward, Susan Ward, Doris Laner, Gord Jones, Sandy Crane, Alex Kramer, (fire-pump), Curtis Bjork, Steve Jules, Rob Vesak, Mike Mueller, (front, l-r) Tex Krombach, and Fritz Schaer.

Upper Clearwater wildfire crew gets fire truck

Former Vavenby fire truck bought from TNRD through auction

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.

READ MORE: Upper Clearwater forms its own fire crew (Sept. 26, 2017)

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.

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Two members of the Upper Clearwater volunteer wildfire crew show how high in the air their new firetruck can pump water - on a low setting. Photos by Keith McNeill

Upper Clearwater volunteer wildfire crew members Rob Vesak (l) and Alex Kramer try out the the pressure from the crew’s new firetruck (visible behind them). The truck formerly belonged to Vavenby Volunteer Fire Department.

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