Tuesday's grass fire near The Rise resort that forced evacuation of two homes has been deemed accidental.

Tuesday's grass fire near The Rise resort that forced evacuation of two homes has been deemed accidental.

Firefighters provide valuable service

EDITORIAL: Everyone involved in extinguishing grass fire at The Rise should be proud of themselves

Everyone involved in extinguishing the Aug. 14 wild fire at The Rise should be proud of themselves.

Through team work, the stubborn blaze was brought under control and no private property was lost. It could have been a far more extreme outcome given the tinder-dry conditions and the wind wafting off Okanagan Lake.

The co-operation and professionalism among the firefighters — from three departments and the B.C. Forest Service — is exactly what residents have come to expect during an emergency.

That’s why a behind-the-scenes dispute is disconcerting.

The Okanagan Landing Fire Department claims its members were left sitting at the hall while The Rise fire grew because they had not received an immediate request for help from Vernon.

One could suggest these allegations are an attempt to gain public sympathy after the Landing firefighters lost their contract with the city to provide services.

However, the allegations are serious and need to be addressed by the City of Vernon. The Rise is within the Landing’s traditional coverage area so why weren’t those firefighters dispatched immediately? And the results of any review need to be made public to ensure transparency and openness.

The bottom line, though, is that while politics flare in the background, Vernon residents should have complete confidence in the service they are receiving.

Firefighters — whether volunteer or career — are here to serve and when facing smoke and flames, they have a common goal.