Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino (in blue) is proud of the progress made fighting the Two Mile Road wildfire near Sicamous. (Sicamous Fire Department photo)

Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino (in blue) is proud of the progress made fighting the Two Mile Road wildfire near Sicamous. (Sicamous Fire Department photo)

‘We’re really starting to get a handle on some of these fires’: Sicamous Fire Chief

Brett Ogino says it’s important for media to focus on victories as well as losses

It’s been over a month since the Two Mile Road wildfire started burning dangerously close to the District of Sicamous.

The fire started from a motor-vehicle accident and quickly tore off into the trees, sending a huge plume of smoke into the air that was visible for kilometres.

By the end of the first day of the fire, about 1,000 residents of the district had been tactically evacuated.

Since it began, the wildfire has required constant attention from multiple fire departments, BC Wildfire crews, air support and industry partners.

Thanks to their efforts, the fire has not damaged a single structure and has been steadily burning away from the district.

However, the blaze was still an out-of-control wildfire on Aug. 21, something Sicamous fire chief Brett Ogino never hesitated to remind people of as the battle against it raged on.

As of Aug. 21, the fire was an estimated 2,499 hectares in size.

At noon on Aug. 20, the community of Sicamous was given the all-clear and taken off evacuation alert.

However, the community of Swansea Point remained under an evacuation alert. Structure protection is ongoing there.

Overnight from Aug. 16 to 17, the fire moved four kilometres on its northeast corner away from community and structures, said the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).

On its south flank that night, the blaze jumped a fire guard, crossed Hummingbird Creek and burned back upwards towards Skyline Forest Service Road.

By Aug. 20, containment was complete for all of the growth observed in the days prior. As well, a contingency guard was completed for the community of Swansea Point, said BCWS.

Ogino explained that a contingency guard is a fire guard placed behind another fire guard. Contingency guards come with a contingency plan too. Ogino said being prepared is important; better to be safe than sorry.

The terrain continued to be quite challenging to work in, as there are many steep sections and cliffs near the fire, said BCWS.

Ogino said a crew of firefighters from Quebec have been doing incredible work in the tough terrain BCWS speaks of.

He said the weather has been good — the Two Mile wildfire had received the most precipitation of any fire in the Shuswap — and cooler temperatures have been welcome. As always though, wind remains a concern.

Still, on Aug. 20, Ogino was incredibly proud of the work done fighting wildfires this season, in Sicamous and across the province.

“We’re really starting to get a handle on some of these fires,” he said.

“The media tends to focus on the bad things, but we have to celebrate the victories too.”

Read more: Evacuation alert lifted for Sicamous, remains in place for Swansea Point

Read more: Evacuation order rescinded, alert issued for communities north of Sicamous


@roman_reports
zachary.roman@saobserver.net

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B.C. Wildfires 2021