Baynes Lake fire extinguished

Crews in the mop up stage on Tuesday following a 0.9 hectare fire in Kragmont.

A wildfire that forced the evacuation of 20 homes at Kragmont near Baynes Lake was contained on Tuesday evening, following aggressive action from local firefighters and resources from the Wildfire Management Branch.

“We got the call at about 1:30 p.m. this [Monday] afternoon and when we arrived on scene, we discovered a wild land fire burning next to a house. This fire was erratic and aggressive and there was real potential for things to grow quickly, so the decision was made to do a tactical evacuation and get people safely out while we could,” said Dave Boreen, the fire chief for Jaffray/Baynes Lake.

“This was not a decision that was made lightly and our crews, along with the team from the Wildfire Management Branch, did an amazing job in protecting the structures and getting the fire quickly contained.”

Only 0.9 hectares in size, the fire was contained by 12 firefighters, an initial attack crew, helicopters and an air tanker. The fire came within inches of a house, but no structures were lost, and residents were eventually allowed to return to their homes.

The firefighters remained on-scene till Tuesday to work on hot spots and mop up. No cause has been identified, however, Boreen said it wasn’t from lightning, which usually implies human interference.

Despite being relatively small, there was potential for the situation to get much worse, said Boreen.

“We had spot fires taking off from the original fire, it was really quite dry, heavy timber, so spot fires advancing in front of the fire, so those were difficult to deal with, somewhat,” he said.

“I commend the tireless work of all the responders this afternoon,” continued Boreen. “Had it not been for their swift action, this could have been a much more devastating event.

“I also want to recognize the emergency program personnel and Emergency Social Services volunteers who had a reception open within an hour.”

While the Jaffray/Baynes Lake fire department was busy with the wildland fire on Monday, they also were out on the weekend responding to a few campfires, which are currently under a ban.

“We were out three separate times on the weekend telling people to put their camp fires out and dealing with that,” said Boreen.

“We get a few and they all plead ignorance. I know three times for sure the Baynes Lake fire department was out on the weekend telling people to put their fires out.

“It’s pretty dry out there, so people need to be careful.”