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Ten pop-up tent cities support thousands of firefighters

Last Updated Aug 7, 2017 at 10:16 am PST

(Courtesy: BC Wildfire Service)
Summary

Some camps can house up to 800 firefighting personnel

They are the invisible cast in the province's firefighting efforts - the people who take care of the fire camps

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It takes an immense army of people and supplies to support the 4,000 or so firefighting personnel in British Columbia right now.

The wildfire service has had to set up ten camps to house the crews. Some camps, like the one at the Williams Lake airport, accommodate up to 800 workers, and those personnel need to eat, bathe and sleep.

Fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says they have essentially set up pop-up cities.

“Cots for everyone if they are sleeping in the larger tents, sleeping bags, foamies, Thermarests, that kind of thing,” he lists.

“As well as all the food and these camps will be set up for months.”

Some, like a camp situated at a Cache Creek school, can tap into local resources. Others, though, are far from civilization.

“Water, internet, electricity – all of those are hugely important. We have significant generators we can bring in. We have a satellite internet system. Water, quite often, will have to be trucked in,” says Skrepnek.

Aside from the tents, the kitchens and washroom facilities are located in portable trailers.

Then there are the personnel: cooks to prepare the hundreds of meals, set up and clean-up crews that look after camp operations and security.

Skrepnek anticipates the tents to be up for another couple months.