Few calls for rural Enderby fire service

Flames have gutted a second rural Enderby home but that’s not fuelling calls for fire protection.

Flames have gutted a second rural Enderby home but that’s not fuelling calls for fire protection.

A residence at Highway 97A and Hutchinson Road in Mara was destroyed Wednesday, while a residence on Potrie Road, near Kingfisher, was charred Saturday.

Both areas are outside of the Enderby Fire Department’s boundaries.

“People would like to be in the fire protection area but the fire department can’t get there within the required time set by the insurance underwriters,” said Herman Halvorson, rural Enderby director for the Regional District of North Okanagan.

As for establishing new volunteer fire halls, Halvorson doesn’t believe that’s practical given the seasonal nature of the area.

“In the winter time that would be impossible,” he said.

“You need permanent residents and there’s not enough people around.”

The other factor is the cost of building a fire hall, purchasing equipment and operating the service.

The Highway 97A fire in Mara broke out just after 8 a.m. Wednesday, and the B.C. Forest Service responded to ensure it didn’t spread into the adjacent forest.

“The wildfire management branch firefighters do not fight structure fires,” said Kayla Pepper, a  B.C. Forest Service fire information officer.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the RCMP, which oversees investigations in areas outside of fire protection districts.

On Saturday, fire was reported at a Potrie Road residence just before 6 a.m. and the cause is still being investigated by the RCMP.

Residents who live outside of fire protection boundaries either pay substantial fire insurance rates or they don’t have insurance.

“It’s the price they pay for living in an area they want to live in,” said Halvorson.

Halvorson believes there should be more awareness among residents about the services available when they move into a  neighbourhood or community.

“All realtors should notify people that they are not in a fire protection district and people should be asking the question,” he said.