It can happen here, it already has!

Some Bridge River Valley (BRV) - Fire History

2017 Truck Fire

Remains of a truck fire near Vandenberg Hill. The Gun Lake Fire brigade responded to call to deal with this truck fire which had the potential to spread into the forest. The fire was attacked with water from the truck tank and several fire extinguishers. It was successfully extinguish. There were no injuries reported, but as the picture shows, the truck appeared to be a total right off. No fire spread into the adjacent forest.

Video credit to Dave Aitken

Burned Out

Truck Fire in action

Photo & Video credit to Dave Aitken

2017 Lighting Strike at Truax Creek

On August 7th, 2017 lighting struck at Truax Creek on the south side of Carpenter Lake. Fire# K71730 .1 hectares reported by a Gun Lake Resident. BC Forest Services responded very quickly and put it out.

2013 Multiple Lighting Strikes

A lighting strikes east of Mount Truax

Helicopter View of fire just east of Mt Truax
Helicopter View of fire just east of Mt Truax

Photo credit to BC Forest Services

After an extremely violent thunderstorm, BC forest services and GLFPS fought several fires started by lighting.

lighting strike

Photo credit to Sheila Macdonald

2012 Sumner Creek Lighting Strike

Forest Services crew putting
out the lighting strike

Photo credit to Sheila Macdonald

Lighting strike up Sumner Creek, west side of Gun Lake, being fought by BC Forest Services crew

2009 Tyaughton Lake Fire

A major wildfire was started on May 31, 2009 by a careless camper at Pearson Pond campsite. The fire, having been put out twice but not monitored, finely established itself on third ignition. It rapidly got out of control and headed west towards Gun Creek and Gun Lake. Tyaughton Lake was evacuated and Gun Lake, Gold Bridge were on evacuation alert for over a month while the fire expanded to approximately 10,000 hectares.

Locheed Electra
Control Burn
Tyaughton Lake Fire
2009 Distruction

Photo credit to Sheila Macdonald and Norris Girling

No sooner, than this fire was undercontrol and the evacuation alert and order lifted. The valley access was blocked by fires on both entrances. A fire across the road below the dam prevent access from Lillooet and two fire on the Hurley, one across the road before the bridge over the Lillooet River. Although these fires presented no fire risk to Gun Lake, they did present access restrictions which impacted Gun Lake and the Bridge River Valley.

Early 2000's

A group of us on Gun Lake witnessed a lighting strike on Green Mountain. We didn't see any initial signs of fire after the strike. A short while later we observed a helicopter over Green Mountain. On further examination with binoculars we observed a crew putting out the fire from the lightning strike.

In the 1990's

Aug 20, 1994 - Upper Bridge River Garbage Dump Fire

On August 20, 1994 a hot summer day Bud McStay, our Fire Warden was alerted of a fire burning at the dump, he confirmed there was a fire and volunteers were dispatched. I was called to assist with fighting the fire. This was prior to the establishment of the current transfer station. Nine volunteers responded with the single fire trailer stored at Fred Hoch's. We fought the fire for four hours, sourcing water from the slew at the entrance to the transfer station. With two 1.5" lines, we were able to contain the fire and controll it from spreading into the huge lumber pile and the forest on the northeast side of the dump site, but we did not have sufficient equipment to put the fire out. We successfully held the fire at bay for about 4 hours until a bulldozer that was requested from one of the company's working locally arrived. The bulldozer plowed over the dump extinguishing the fire.

I believe, this was the first fire the original brigade fought. We were lucky to have them, the fire trailer with pump and hoses to take early action otherwise with the high winds that day the southeast corner of Gun Lake could have been engulfed in a forest fire.

We were also lucky to have the assistance of the background workers of the Gun Lake Rate Payers Association's Fire Protection Committee who arranged for the bulldozer to be brought in while the brigade fought the fire.

Document credit to Sue Girling, GLRA secretary in 1994.

May 17, 1992 Downton Lake WildFire

Over a May long weekend a controlled slash burn on Downton lake got out of control due to high winds. The crowning fire was heading northeast towards Gold Bridge BC. I reported the fire to BC forest services and they responded with a spotter plane, and shortly there after 5 water bombers. We watched and filmed the water bombers from Vanderburg hill. BC Forest services had the fire under control after dropping approximately 40 loads of retardent.

1992 Downton Lake
Control Burn
1992 Downton Lake
Out of Control

Photo credit to Norris Girling

Gun Lake Fire Protection Society - Origin

A man had a dream and others joined him

A group of full and part-time residents worked together to build a “brigade” as some called it. Some of the members were Fred Hoch, Bart Bastien, Bud McStay, John Leighton, John Forber, Henry Joyal and Bill Fetterley. (I apologize for anyone I missed but the records left much to be desired and these are the names I found.) A towable fire trailer, equipped with a pump, hose and hand tools was built and was kept at Fred Hoch’s home. It was available for use when anyone was in need.

With the aid of the Gun Lake Ratepayers Association, the Squamish Lillooet Regional District worked on boundaries and a land use permit for the GLFPS so they could use the property at the junction of Gun Lake West and Lakeview Rd. for a fire structure. This was late 1994. Once the permit was obtained, the clearing of the land began. The Regional District provided a grant and Ratepayers worked hard to meet all the government’s requirements.

December 15, 1995 a bylaw was passed by the SLRD to establish a local service within a portion of the Electoral Area A for the purpose of providing a financial contribution for fire protection for our community. The community now had a base and a goal – a fire hall.

It did not take long to realize that the “Brigade” needed to distance itself from the GLRA and on March 23, 1999 the Gun Lake Fire Protection Society was incorporated. A second fire trailer was built and regular practices commenced. At some point the Society was given an older fire truck by Lillooet Fire. There was a lot of excitement over this, to say the least. There was only one problem – there were only two water access areas around the lake and once the truck was full it found the hills a real problem. It was fun while it lasted but alas, was put in storage for a number of years. It did find a new home though in about 2011. It was adopted by the Barrier Fire Department and we hope it works better for them than it did for us.

Unfortunately, on September 17, 2004 the society was struck from the registry and dissolved because financial reports had not been supplied for a number of years. Fast forward to 2009…….Along came local resident, Michelle Nortje, who noticed that it was approaching the time frame limit for reinstatement of the Society. She called a meeting at the fire site and about 10 people showed up. Positions were given and she started the documentation process for reinstatement of the Society. The GLFPS was reinstated December 23, 2010.

Today the Society is funded primarily by a parcel tax. This is a fixed amount that is added to the taxes of each property in our area of interest.

We now have three fire trailers, two of which can be towed by ATV’s, cars or small trucks. The third carries a full complement of fire equipment along with a 100 gallon water tank. This trailer takes a little more to tow it.

In 2012 we purchased 2 used shipping containers, paid the permit fees and with countless hours of volunteer labour our new building had a roof over it in the summer of 2013. We now have two secure storage areas with a large multi-purpose bay in between. We’re not finished yet – there’s a long way to go, but we’ve made a huge difference already.

Initially the GLFPS provided it’s own training, but starting in 2013 we joined with the Valley-Wide Training initiative so that more courses were available and the costs to our society were less. Training starts every May, whether it is one of the Valley-wide courses or hands-on courses or demos with our GLFPS volunteers

In 2017 the GLFPS acquired a 1991 Ford F600 wildland fire truck. The truck comes with an 18 horse independent water pump and a Foampro injection system as well as a 500 gallon water tank.