Wildfire season began late this year but did it ever hit close to home. What started out as a small fire at the end of July quickly spread to over 7000 hectares in a few weeks. Residents of the Apex community were put on evacuation order for 16 days while combined efforts from BC Wildfire Service, Apex Volunteer Fire Rescue, Apex Mountain Resort, and our fire department families from across B.C. were able to successfully prevent any negative wildfire impacts to the Apex Community and surrounding area. After 28 days of sustained fire suppression, the Keremeos Creek wildfire was considered being held. You can still see the fire smoldering along Green Mountain Road but it is not expected to spread beyond predetermined boundaries with the forecasted conditions.
We thank each and every one of you who packed up your personal belongings and headed into the valley. We understand that it was an extremely stressful time for you all and appreciate your hard work. Apex Volunteer Fire Rescue and Apex Fire Brigade Society would also like to thank Slackwater Brewing for the generous fundraising event they held during the wildfire, Scott Gleeson, owner of Scotty Tree for generously volunteering his time and equipment to help protect our homes, the Apex Community Association for collecting donations and organizing healthy lunches, and every single family that donated a meal or money! The money was used to directly support our crew with any immediate needs and any leftover money we will be putting towards purchasing a wildland slip-on skid unit and equipment to turn our flat deck truck into a wildland engine. With this, we will be better able to support the community in the event of another forest fire. A full-sized truck with this skid unit and equipment can be staged and used for pumping, supporting sprinkler operations or direct initial attack.
As with most wildfires, our biggest concern with the Keremeos Creek fire was the impact of airborne embers produced by the fire, entering the village, and igniting buildings and combustible materials beside them. Firewood and other materials were moved away from buildings, decks and carports. Lower branches of trees were also removed off of some properties. These emergency actions were taken to minimize the potential structure damage, or loss from ember ignitions and wildfire impingement. We’d like to encourage you to sign up for a FireSmart Home Partners, Home Ignition Zone assessment which is conducted by an Apex Volunteer Fire Rescue Wildfire Mitigation Specialist. This will provide you with the opportunity for an onsite visit with a specialist to discuss FireSmart options for safely storing your firewood and combustibles, and changes that you can make to your property to decrease your home’s vulnerability to wildfire. You will then receive a report that provides you with specific and customized guidance for your property. There is still time left before it snows and it is important that all property owners visit their properties as soon as they can to ensure all of their belongings are retrieved and safely stored for the winter, and FireSmart for future fire seasons! Click here to learn more and sign up for your own personalized assessment.