The Kelowna Fire Deparment respond to a fire. Photo: West Coast Photography

Differences between the California and Okanagan fires taken seriously

Chief Travis Whiting and Kelowna Fire Department learn from the devasting U.S. fires

  • Nov. 19, 2018 6:00 a.m.

The 2018 California fires have devastated the west coast state of the U.S. since mid-July. The most recent fires, the Woosley Fire and the Camp Fire have been ravaging the state since the beginning of November. As of Nov. 16, the Camp Fire has killed 63 people so far and has destroyed 10,321 structures which makes it both the deadliest and most destructive California wildfire on record according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

RELATED: Missing-persons list tops 600 in fire-stricken California

The Okanagan area has its own problems with forest fires every year. Kelowna Fire Department Chief Travis Whiting says that the department is constantly learning from devastating fires like the California fires.

“We’re constantly meeting with fire chiefs throughout the Okanagan area to prepare for our season. We come together to see if there are new programs that can help us. Some programs are simple, some are not, ” said Whiting. “At the end of each fire season, we communicate as we learn from the past season.”

But as Whiting claims, there is no direct comparisons to the types of fire in California to the types of fires in the Okanagan.

“From climate differences to the different amount of fuel loads there. The fire behaviour there is not consistent with the fire behaviour here. It’s apples to oranges,” said Whiting.

The B.C. government gave a summary of the 2017 wildfire season, citing it as one of the worst seasons in B.C.’s history with 1.2 million hectares of land burned, over $568 million spend in fire suppression, and roughly 65,000 people displaced.

RELATED: B.C. couple helping wildfire evacuees in northern California

Though the Okanagan’s fire season’s arrival is eminent, Chief Whiting says being proactive can only go so far.

“Its the unpredictability of the fires,” Whiting explained. “Every fire is different, and mother nature is unpredictable. But we rely on our teams’ responses of getting there early and we’re very aggressive with every fire.”

Whiting says FireSmart helps in the preparation of the fire season and more information can be found here.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bc wildfiresCity of KelownaKelowna Fire Department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crews called to overnight fire in Ellison

Kelowna Fire first received the call around 9:55 p.m.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

West Kelowna director nominated for Juno Award

Johnny Jansen directed B.C. band Said the Whale’s ‘Record Shop’ video

West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon Vipers 6-4

The teams meet again on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. for the final game of regular season

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

BC Senior Curling titles to be decided in Vernon

Wes Craig, Penny Shantz looking for fifth championships; Steve Wright, Donna Mychaluk into finals

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Dale family was prominent in Summerland’s past

Ruth Dale taught for many years

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Most Read