Citizens save the day

They don't have an official fire department, but residents of Paul Lake near Kamloops have each other.

A spontaneous response by 30 residents early Monday not only saved the day, but the forest as well.

Resident Ed Lund said strong winds knocked power lines onto an outbuilding, which caught fire about 12:30 a.m.

The flames melted phone lines, cutting off calls for help.

“I was told the telephone poles are too old and the Telus contractors are not allowed to climb them, so the lines are only as high as their ladders can go, which is not very high,” said Lund, adding Paul Lake has a fan-out system in which one person calls two people, they call two, and so on.

“Halfway through the call out, the phones went dead because the lines melted,” said Lund.

While he headed to the fire with a trailer carrying water pumps, his wife drove door to door, summoning help.

“Within 20 minutes, we had six lines charged and water on the flames.”

Lund said when he first arrived, "trees were candling. It was scary.”

Lund said the community purchased the 20-horsepower pumps last year, and they saved the day.

By the time BC Wildfire crews arrived, the residents had the flames knocked down.

The fire flared up again later that morning, but Lund said charged lines were left in place, and the hot spots were quickly knocked down.

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