A group of Lakes District residents protested the removal of wildfire fighting equipment they hoped would help protect their homes Saturday.
About a hundred residents of Southside, a community across Francois Lake, have defied evacuation orders and have stayed with their homes as the Babine Complex of fires rages to over 1100 square kilometres.
The BC Wildfire Service says a high capacity water delivery system from contractor SafetyGuard was brought to Burns Lake earlier this week to see if the units could be deployed for structural protection on the fires.
But officials say the contractor’s assessment revealed that in the areas the system would be most effective, “the water sources were insufficient, the terrain was challenging and there was significant distance between structures”. The decision was made to release the contractor, whose 28 trucks were parked in Burns Lake.
Dozens gathered in Burns Lake Saturday morning and temporarily halted the trucks from leaving. Southside residents and their supporters say they feel abandoned and are frustrated the water system couldn’t be put to use.
The BC Wildfire Service says it’s looking at other water delivery systems that could be used to help suppress fires and protect homes threatened by the Babine Complex.