KFR says roof sprinklers are not a viable option for Kamloops

Roof sprinklers not helpful?

Sydney Chisholm

One year after firefighters worked through the night to save Logan Lake from wildfire — a success credited in part to rooftop sprinkler systems — Kamloops Fire Rescue says the devices would not work well in the Tournament Capital.

KFR Chief Fire Prevention Officer Dean Olstad told Castanet Kamloops it wasn’t because of the manpower needed or local environment that they aren’t an option.

“It's just really the [water] system that the city of Kamloops has— it’s the pumps, the amount of homes that we have. And then just looking at the load that that would create, or the demand I should say, on our system,” Olstad said adding that having that many roof top sprinklers would deplete the city’s water supply and not leave enough for fire hydrants.

Randy Cowling, president of WASP Manufacturing, a Kelowna-based company that manufactures rooftop sprinklers, including many of those used in Logan Lake, said they would work great in Kamloops.

“They're only going to turn them on if they see embers coming down. They're not going to turn them on if they don’t,” Cowling said.

“[Fire chiefs], they're always looking at how much water we're using and they want to make sure they keep water in the fire hydrants if they need it, but they're not going to waste it either. They're just going to turn it on as they need it.”

Last August in Logan Lake, with the 63,000-hectare Tremont Creek wildfire bearing down on the community, crews worked over the course of a 24-hour period to build an above-ground system of large bladders to supply water to the rooftop sprinklers.

Flames came within 30 feet of some Logan Lake homes, but no structures were lost.

“That was a big one and I think that that's just a real sign of how you can really protect the town from that,” Cowling said.

Olstad said the best thing for Kamloops homeowners to do to ensure they are safe is to have a FireSmart assessment done — a service KFR provides for free.

“One of the things that works probably in every community would be to do a fire smarter every home, and just individual homeowners looking after their own home,” he said.

To request a free FireSmart assessment or get more information on fire prevention, residents can call or text 250-320-7641, or visit the City of Kamloops website.

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