The Gun Lake Volunteer Fire Brigade (GLF) was extensively involved in the Downtown Lake Wildfire K71649 this summer and fall. GLF wanted to bring the Upper Bridge River Valley community up to date about GLF activities during the fire and the future plans for 2024.

Key dates:

  • July 13, 2023, a lightning caused fire was discovered above Downton Lake.
  • GLF was tasked by the SLRD to deliver an Evacuation Alert on July 24, 2023.
  • August 1, 2023 GLF was further tasked by the SLRD to deliver an Evacuation Order that was completed by GLF to 279 properties in 2 hours. This quick timeline was due to the previous preparation of an evacuation protocol by GLF after the 2009 fire. The GLF emergency siren, which had only recently been installed, was activated as well.
  • September 8, 2023, Evacuation Order is rescinded

It is important to note that the SLRD, as the local government body, was responsible for the issuance and enforcement of the evacuation alert and order. GLF had no authority or control over the movement of persons into or within the evacuation area.

British Columbia Wildfire Service (BCWS) arrived at Gun Lake shortly after the July 24, 2023 Evacuation Alert and were based at the GLF building. BCWS was in charge of the response to the fire and it was at their discretion whether GLF members would be permitted to stay in the evacuation zone. Members of GLF, who were fully trained and accredited pursuant to Worksafe BC regulations for Wildfire Fighting, volunteered on August 1, 2023 to stay in the evacuation zone.

GLF was approached by BCWS to enter into a contract with BCWS to work under the Incident Command of BCWS. This allowed onsite GLF members to assist in activities related to the fire and use of the GLF wildland fire truck and equipment. Members of GLF, who would have been entitled to compensation under the contract, voted to donate their compensation to GLF to assist with the purchase of a replacement fire truck. GLF current fire truck is a 1991 model and is at the end of its serviceable life.

Under the terms of the contract with BCWS, GLF was required to be under the BCWS Incident Command structure and comply with operational requirements. Some of the terms included:

  • Any information to the general public was required to be submitted to the BCWS communication division.
  • Current S-100 Wildfire accreditation.
  • Required to have proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and be equipped with portable radios with BCWS and emergency channels.
  • Attend daily safety meetings
  • Dispatched and required to do radio safety call-ins by BCWS.

These requirements put restrictions on the information GLF would normally provide to the community. It also restricted the number of members of GLF who could be active as GLF only had a limited supply of radios and Personal Protective Equipment. GLF has received a grant and is in the process of increasing the number of radios. GLF is also securing quotes to increase the amount of PPE available. GLF has struck a committee to begin the process of obtaining funds and specifications for a new Wildland Fire Truck.

BCWS has expressed their appreciation for the efforts of GLF and the ability of GLF to work in a productive manner under their supervision. GLF members were able to do many tasks which otherwise would have pulled BCWS Firefighters from the front lines of the fire. An excellent working relationship has been achieved.

Since the “official” end of the fire, GLF has been dealing with a number of issues.

  • There was significant work cleaning up (burned hose etc)
  • Monitoring hot spots daily over the fall.
  • The SLRD has instituted a Comprehensive Fire Services Review. GLF has produced reports and been in meetings with the SLRD Area A representative, SLRD Regional Fire Chief, and the SLRD Director of Protective Services. Included in those meetings was a de-brief with the SLRD regarding the fire event.
  • As a result of the cooperative work GLF had with BCWS, GLF Fire Chief Al Leighton was invited to participate in the provincially sponsored working group for the Cooperative Community Wildfire Response Initiative through the Fraser Basin Council. This ongoing initiative is based on establishing a process where those local community members, who wish to stay and assist, can be integrated under the BCWS. Many more interface fires have been occurring over the last decade and there is a movement to involve community members in becoming trained and assisting.

GLF invites residents to become involved with fire protection around the community.

  • Firesmart your property. Have a Firesmart representative do an evaluation of your property this spring and implement their findings.
  • Take the S-100 Wildfire training courses and join GLF as an active member.
  • For those who are unable to become an active firefighter, you can support the efforts of GLF by becoming a member as a “Friend of GLF”. GLF is also accepting donations to facilitate the purchase of a new fire truck and replace equipment burned during the fire.

GLF is also in communication with the Gold Bridge and Bralorne Fire Departments in sharing information and support.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Roger Stacey, President at 250-238-0165 or

GLF wishes the residents of the Upper Bridge River Valley a Happy New Year!

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Kamloops district   

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Gun Lake Fire Merchandise

Photos & credit to Kaitlin M. James

Hats $24
Tee Shirts $20
Hot/Cold Vacuum Bottles $40
Coffee Mugs $16

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Firesmart Info

NASA - WildFires 101

WSJ - The Science of Wildfires

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TIP: One of the things you can do to protect your cabin is to rake up all the fir cones. Fir cones are like grenades, they IGNITE very easily and can be blown against a cabin easily.

Ignition Zone
Ignition Zone
Ladder fuels
Ladder Fuel Trimming - up to 2 meters

For more Information


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Your Best Protection

Cabin Fires:   Are You Prepared?

Do You Have a kitchen and bedroom fire extinguisher?

Are your extinguishers current ?
Have you checked? Is it time to renew your extinguishers?

Have you set up your OWN fire pump, sprinklers (covering roof, sidewalls and ignition area around the structure(s)) and tested them?

Do it now! Don't wait for a fire!  It will be TOO late!!!

A minimum of one chemical extinguisher (2A 10B C rated) or a compound of water AFFF fire fighting foam extinguisher(3A 21B C rated) should be available for kitchen fires and it is recommended that a second and/or a third extinguisher be available in or near sleep quarters to aid in escaping from a cabin fire.

Fire extinguishers should be upgraded every few years - Great personal investment or gift of perhap ones life!

A long running pump is very advisable!

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Radio Noise

We have been experiencing a fair bit of Radio Noise lately. To mitigate noise please do NOT leave your radios on, in the charger.   Also please try to avoid pocket signaling [accidently transmitting while the radio is in your pocket].   Thank you for your assistance, GLF.

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Gun Lake Area Info

Gun Lake specific information: BC WildFire Info, Evacuation, Logging, Shooting, Bug infestation, SLRD, and more....

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Thanks to Member, Friends, Volunteers and Contributors


Again to all of you who volunteer for standby, call out, and evacuation captains, Thank You!
Suggest to your neighbours and friends to also volunteer. Volunteers are our only source of man power help. There can be income tax benefits. You all can contribute, it can be a small or large amount, it is totally up to you.
Even if you are only at the lake for a week or two during the summer, you can help. So please join!

In the event of another fire, we are it! (GLF) , there is no one else!

To be able to help fight a fire until Forestry arrive (usually several hours or a day), you must be trained and have taken the S100 course (its free with a bit your time).
It is required by the Government to be cover by Worker Compensation, as GLF works under BC Forestry.

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Activities and Events -- By GLF -- This Year

Previous Years Activities

History of Gun Lake Fire


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