Kirsten Vanhorne (left) and Rob Hallett were among the people who stopped to put out a fire across the road from Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on Saturday. Photo: Submitted

Kirsten Vanhorne (left) and Rob Hallett were among the people who stopped to put out a fire across the road from Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on Saturday. Photo: Submitted

Commuters stop to put out wildfire near Kokanee Creek Provincial Park

Quick action stopped a fire from spreading north of Nelson

Murray and Lynne Shunter may have kept a wildfire from spreading to a beloved park.

The Shunters were driving to Kokanee Creek Provincial Park north of Nelson on Saturday afternoon when they spotted a small fire on the opposite side of the highway at the park’s entrance.

The couple jumped out of their car and ran to the fire, which Murray estimated was about three metres in diameter. They started kicking dirt on the fire, and as Lynne called 911 other drivers stopped to help.

“For sure it was going to take out half the park,” said Murray. “It was going well and there was a lot of tinder-dry stuff where it was.

“Felt like we did a good job.”

They sure did.

Balfour-Harrop Fire Rescue chief Pat Hergott said residents were dumping water from bottles on the fire when his department arrived on scene and soaked the area. The fire, he said, was likely caused by a tree that fell onto a power line overhead and may have caused sparks to fall.

Hergott said he wants enthusiastic residents to be cautious before attending to a fire themselves, but nevertheless appreciated people pitching in.

“It was great to see because with the temperatures being as hot as they are, I think everyone is being vigilant with fires these days,” he said.

Murray said it would have been a tragedy if the fire had spread to the park, which the Shunters value as a place to walk their dog.

“You hate to see any forest go up, but in particular something that’s being preserved and is so well used,” he said.

Shunter also credited Rob Hallett, Isaac Gray, Kirsten Vanhorne and Melanie Mobbs with helping put out the fire.

READ MORE:

Two cooling centres open in Nelson during heat wave

VIDEO: Water salute welcomes Air Canada back to West Kootenay Regional Airport

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

bc wildfires