Kamloops Fire Centre
The Kamloops Fire Centre extends from the northern border of Wells Gray Park, north of Blue River to the US border in the south and from the Bridge River Glacier west of Goldbridge to the Monashee Mountains east of Lumby. The area encompasses 7.5 million hectares and is divided into seven Fire Zones: Clearwater, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Penticton, Merritt, and Lillooet.
The terrain is extremely diverse, ranging from glaciers in the north to semi-arid desert in the Southern Okanagan, from steep dry canyons in the Lytton and Lillooet area to the Interior rain forest of Salmon Arm. The fuel types include Ponderosa Pine-Douglas Fir, Jack or Lodgepole Pine, Spruce-Balsam, and open range and sagebrush.
Since 1950, the Kamloops Fire Centre responds to an average of 624 fires each year. In 1999, firefighters fought 289 fires. 107 fires were caused by lightning strikes, and 182 by people. In 1998, firefighters fought 863 fires, including 597 lightning-caused fires and 266 person-caused fires. Approximately half of all wildfires are caused by lightning strikes, and half are caused by people. Over the past two years, 24,236 hectares of land was burned by wildfires in the Kamloops Fire Centre.
Wildfires do not just happen in remote areas. Forested and rural subdivisions, farms, acreages and cottages are all potentially threatened. A growing number of fires occur in "interface" areas - where forests meet homes. Forest Protection Officers at your local Fire Zone can provide more information regarding how to "Firesafe" your home.
The Fire Centre employs 34 permanent staff and a large number of seasonal support staff including dispatchers and firefighters. Of the 166 highly-trained seasonal firefighters, 66 are members of three-person Initial Attack Crews. They are the first firefighters deployed to a fire and may travel by helicopter or truck. The remaining 100 firefighters are divided into five 20-person Unit Crews that work on larger fires. An additional 36 Rapattack firefighters are based in Salmon Arm. They quickly access fires by repelling from a helicopter. These resources are supported by a network of community contacts and Fire Wardens, who assist firefighters as independent agents - an integral part of our program.