Commonage fire protection queried

Fire trucks may roll into the Commonage but they may not be able to save homes from burning.

Fire trucks may roll into the Commonage but they may not be able to save homes from burning.

The Electoral Area Advisory Committee is recommending the Regional District of North Okanagan ask Commonage residents if they support fire protection from the BX-Swan Lake fire hall.

“They can provide service on a limited basis. It will take longer for them to get there,” said director Mike Gavinchuk.

Presently, the 92 properties in the Commonage do not have fire protection of any kind.

The BX-Swan Lake Fire Department, which is located on Silver Star Road, has indicated that it may be able to provide limited service to the area.

“Response times may exceed 20 minutes, which for an aggressive fire could represent total loss of a structure,” said Ron Baker, RDNO’s community protective services manager, in a report.

“The primary benefit of such a response would be to control as much as possible the fire spreading to adjacent structures or wildland interface.”

Director Mike Macnabb admits a response from the BX hall isn’t ideal because the crews would have to travel through Vernon to get to the Commonage.

“It’s a matter of do you want somebody to show up at some time or not show up at all?” he said.

It’s believed any service from the BX-Swan Lake department could be temporary as the City of Vernon may ultimately respond to fires under contract.

“They will provide coverage once they get a fire hall at Predator Ridge (which is in Vernon),” said Gavinchuk.

The city has refused to provide service in the past because of concerns over roads and access to water, primarily the lack of hydrants in the Commonage.