South Country firefighters mop up after a wildfire at the Aye’s Ranch Campground near Baynes Lake. Photo courtesy Regional District of East Kootenay

South Country firefighters called out twice Thursday

Shortly after tackling a wildfire near Baynes Lake, firefighters were called out to a structure fire in Elko

The Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire and Rescue Service was busy Thursday afternoon and evening, tackling two fires one after the other — one in the South Country and one in Elko.

A fire at Aye’s Ranch Campground near Baynes Lake was sparked when a portable generator failed Thursday afternoon.

The Chief of the Elk Valley & South Country Rural Fire and Rescue Service is crediting the quick actions by campground staff and campers for controlling the wildfire.

“The campground had done some preparedness planning and the staff and campers did a good job of controlling the fire until we arrived on scene,” said Chief Dave Boreen. “Our firefighters were then able to complete a guard around the perimeter of the fire and extinguish hot spots. There were no injuries and we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome today.

“Weather, topography and fuel load were all against us and the site only has one road in and out. The campground staff and campers along with our firefighters did an excellent job of preventing what could have been a very serious situation,” adds Boreen.

In total, eight firefighters responded to the call just after 6:20 pm.

Later that night, firefighters were called out again. An abandoned building on the Elko Airport property is a total loss following an overnight structure fire.

“An old, unused office structure on the site was fully involved when we arrived and our crews focused their energies on keeping the grass fire surrounding the structure from spreading to the nearby trees and other structures on the property,” Chief Boreen said. “We had firefighters remain on fire watch overnight to secure the scene and deal with any hot spots.”

In total, 18 firefighters from the Elko, Jaffray and Baynes Lake Fire Departments responded to the call. The cause of the fire is considered to be suspicious in nature and an investigation will begin later this morning.

“This was the second call of the night and fourth call of the day for our crews and once again, they did a tremendous job of keeping the fire contained,” said Boreen.

A press release from the RDEK added that earlier in the day, the departments also responded to two medical calls.

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