The possible closure of the B.C. Wildfire Rapattack barracks in Salmon Arm came up at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention which ran from Sept. 26 to 30 in Victoria.
Salmon Arm coun. Ken Jamieson said the possibility of closing the barracks in Salmon Arm was discussed during a meeting with B.C. Minister of Forests Lands and National Resource Operations (FLNRO) Steve Thomson. Jamieson described the progress of a plan to close the base as preliminary.
“We made the case to the minister that that’s not a good idea, not in Salmon Arm,” Jamieson said adding forest-fire season coincides with vacation season making the rental market for firefighters living seasonally in the area difficult.
Rapattack crews are firefighters who fight wildfires in difficult to access areas by rappelling from helicopters. The Rapattack base located near the Salmon Arm Airport is home to as many as 40 firefighters during wildfire season.
Jamieson said the Salmon Arm barracks is one of only two places in the province where housing is provided for seasonal firefighters. The firefighters still have to pay for housing.
Mayor Nancy Cooper said Thomson responded positively to the idea of keeping the base open.