Boaters on Osoyoos Lake got a little more than they may have bargained for today, having to share the surface with a squadron of skimmers working a fire near Keremeos.
Three of the fixed-wing aircraft are playing touch-and-go amid the sparse boat traffic on the lake, providing an eyeful — and earful — for residents and visitors lined up along the lakeshore and other vantage points.
“The skimmers working Osoyoos Lake are picking up water to support crews on the ground at the K Mountain fire,” explained Justine Hunse, a fire information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre. “They pick up water from the lake and they’re using it cool the fire.”
The BC Wildfire Service dropped 12 members of the elite parattack crew on the fire Saturday. The fire is located near the peak of K Mountain, which rises directly south of the Town of Keremeos.
The fire’s location at the summit of the mountain has made it very difficult to get BC wildfire personnel
Parattack crews — referred to as ‘smoke jumpers’ in the U.S. — parachute from fixed-wing aircraft, as opposed to the conventional helicopter response.
“They are a highly specialized team of firefighters who are trained to adapt to a huge range of firefighting scenarios,” explained Ms. Hunse.
The fire, although just a seven-hectare blaze, is close enough to Kermeos to be considered a wildfire of note. It was discovered Sept. 7.