The Wentworth Creek fire. (BC Wildfire Service)

The Wentworth Creek fire. (BC Wildfire Service)

Wildfire fighting equipment stolen in Southeast Fire Centre

The theft of a water pump and hoses has hindered firefighting efforts on the Harrop Creek wildfire

The theft of a water pump and hoses being used by the BC Wildfire Service has hindered fire suppression efforts on the Harrop Creek wildfire, which is burning 10 kilometres south of the communities of Harrop and Procter.

One water pump and 10 100-foot lengths of hose went missing during the night of July 31-Aug. 1, 2017. Criminal acts such as these impact the effectiveness of fire suppression activities and pose safety risks to the public and also to the first responders working to contain these fires.

The RCMP has no tolerance for criminal activities within wildfire areas. Those suspected of theft or mischief will be arrested. Anyone with any information about this theft is asked to contact the RCMP or contact BC Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477.

As of the afternoon of Aug. 1, 2017, the Harrop Creek wildfire covered about 655 hectares and is burning at high elevations. Twenty personnel are currently establishing a fire guard with the aid of heavy equipment and one helicopter. While this fire is visible from surrounding communities, it is currently not threatening any communities or structures.

The BC Wildfire Service would like to remind the public that when firefighting aircraft such as airtankers or helicopters are working on an active wildfire and picking up water from nearby lakes, they need plenty of room to manoeuvre to do their job safely. Anyone who tries to get a close-up look at these aircraft present a serious safety risk for air crews, firefighters and anyone else in the area.

This behaviour is extremely dangerous and interferes with the BC Wildfire Service’s ability to fight a fire, since a pilot cannot collect water when a boat is in its intended flight path. In the interest of air crew and public safety, people are urged to use common sense and keep their watercraft well away from areas where airtankers or helicopters are operating.