As of July 13, there were no wildfires burning in the Yankee Flats/Falkland area, and only one small fire in the Kamloops Fire Centre at Mara Hills, between Kamloops and Ashcroft. (Wildfire BC photo)

As of July 13, there were no wildfires burning in the Yankee Flats/Falkland area, and only one small fire in the Kamloops Fire Centre at Mara Hills, between Kamloops and Ashcroft. (Wildfire BC photo)

Shuswap residents see aircraft dropping fire retardant in direction of Falkland

BC Wildfire Service says no fire, crews in two air tankers and a bird dog were just practising

While Silver Creek residents could see what appeared to be planes fighting a wildfire on July 13, it turned out looks were deceiving – and alarming for some.

BC Wildfire Service reported the aircraft seen dumping what looked like fire retardant on Monday afternoon in the direction of Falkland above Yankee Flats were only practising.

Fire information officer Gagan Lidhran said two air tankers and one bird dog were carrying out training between Salmon Arm and Kamloops.

She said normally at this time of year BC Wildfire Service’s contractors would have been working on real fires by now.

“Our contractors need to keep practising to ensure they maintain that level of proficiency when actual fires start.”

Lidhran said they were not dropping retardant used on the fire line, but a water based solution with some retardant residue from the air tankers.

Read more: Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

Read more: Salmon Arm homeowners have role in reducing wildfire risk

Read more: What can you do to protect your property from wildfires?

Meanwhile, the site of aircraft appearing to fight a fire relatively nearby was worrying for at least one Silver Creek resident.

“We had no idea what was going on and multiple loads of red retardant were being used,” Blu Hopkins told the Observer. “I have PTSD and I was really upset and anxious after being evacuated twice before from our home. It was extremely inconsiderate and irresponsible for the wildfire service to conduct this type of training exercise in this area in particular, without informing the residents of Silver Creek that this was happening.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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