BX-Swan Lake firefighters burn off a field as part of interface training Tuesday.

BX-Swan Lake firefighters burn off a field as part of interface training Tuesday.

BX pasture engulfed in flames during practice

BX-Swan Lake Fire Department conducted interface recertification Tuesday night

Hands-on training will pay off during a real life emergency for BX-Swan Lake firefighters.

The volunteer department conducted interface recertification by lighting a pasture on fire on East Vernon Road, near Black Rock Road, Tuesday night.

“The whole BX Creek bed is one of the highest risk interface corridors in the North Okanagan,” said Bill Wacey, chief.

Recertification is required among the firefighters.

While there were some concerns from residents about the five-acre practice fire and smoke, Wacey says all precautions were taken, including mowing down the grass first.

“I’m aware of the optics but you can’t beat reality,” he said, adding that the exercise gave his crew a firm understanding of what they could face during a fire that threatens homes, grass and timber.

“The young guys saw how fast the wind can change and change the whole dynamic of a situation.”

All resources were available during the practice.

“We had five trucks on scene, 6,000 gallons of water and 29 firefighters,” said Wacey.

Beyond dousing the blaze, the firefighters learned how to pump water from a pond as an alternate water source.

The practice came just after the department had responded to a grass fire that got out of control on Old Kamloops Road Saturday.

In that case, a small burn pile spread and ultimately covered about four or five acres.

“The guys have had their fill of grass fires in the last few days,” said Wacey.