The Nelson Daily News of July 24, 1919 reported on the mayor’s call for volunteers to help fight a fire above Rosemont.

COLUMN: 1919 – Forest fire threatens Rosemont

From the files of the Nelson Daily News

By Greg Scott

Dateline July 2, 1919

Hundreds of returned soldiers and sailors, drawn from all sections of interior British Columbia, were the guests of the City of Nelson yesterday, the Dominion Day celebration having been carried out in the form of a reception and entertainment in honor of the men who have returned to the city and surrounding areas.

Yesterday’s celebration was the first formal attempt on the part of the city as a whole to extend a welcome to the veterans. The majority of the men who have returned have arrived a few at a time, never in a large enough group to justify a formal reception. The streets were lined with cheering thousands as the parade moved past. The streets along the parade route were gay with colour.

Every lamp and telephone pole on both sides of the street was festooned with evergreen trees about 12 feet high with the colours of all the allied nations displayed from wires strung across the streets.

Dateline July 14, 1919

Up against the biggest problem in its bright history, the J.A. McDonald jam factory will put on night shifts, and will run continually at capacity for several days, in an endeavor to cope with the flood of berries that has descended on it from all sides.

Mr. McDonald was wearing out sole leather and telephone wire yesterday in order to have adequate staffs assembled this morning to plunge in on the task of converting luscious British Columbia strawberries into toothsome jam.

His warehouse contains this morning 45,000 pounds of berries of which 25,000 pounds came from Mission, 10,000 from Creston, and 10,000 from local growers. “We have known before what it was to be up against a glut,” said Mr. McDonald, “but this is the first time in our history we have had to deal with 45,000 pounds at one time.”

Dateline July 19, 1919

Owing to the lowering of the water in the city reservoir, due to the diminishing flow of Cottonwood Creek, the city authorities have put into force the customary midsummer regulations for conserving water.

The rules provide that lawns and gardens may be sprinkled only between 6 and 9 o’clock in the evening, and streets, alleys and sidewalks between 7 and 9 o’clock; sprinkling must be by garden hose or lawn sprinkler, and must be confined to the areas for which the lawn or garden rate has been paid.

No sprinkling is to be done after an alarm of fire has been sounded. Violators of the regulation may have their water cut off without notice, in addition to suffering the regular penalties prescribed by the water rates by-law.

Dateline July 22, 1919

On the site of the old rectory of the Church of Mary Immaculate a modern school building is being erected, by way of an addition to the parish hall. The stonework has been completed and the cement work is now in hand. Part of the excavation was accomplished by blasting.

On this foundation will rise in the next few weeks a handsome school building which will contain four large classrooms, with cloak rooms and lavatories. There will also be a science room for high school work. In the concrete basement a modern heating plant will be housed. On both stories the new school will connect with the parish hall.

Dateline July 24, 1919

Of an origin not yet explained, a fire broke out last night in the timber above Rosemont addition on the base of Evening Mountain, and, fanned by a high wind which for a time was blowing directly across Rosemont and toward the city, rapidly spread till it covered an area of four or five acres.

A number of ranches on the edge of or abutting on the timber are in the immediate danger zone, and after a close range inspection at midnight last night, Mayor J.A. McDonald issued a call for 200 volunteers to proceed to the scene this morning. At that hour the wind was variable and the fire might spread in any direction.

After the fire broke out, scores of men, women and boys from the neighbouring ranches and from Rosemont, and volunteers from Nelson, were quickly at work, the women doing their part by taking up axes and shovels for the men to use.

Whenever the wind dropped the fire would not appear particularly dangerous, as there were patches of clearing and conditions seemed favorable for confining it, but whenever the wind rose the flames would go hissing up the trees, and the revived activity would put a different face on the matter. The wind, shortly after midnight, had shifted in a general direction, blowing back up the mountain, in a southerly direction.

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