Kamloops Fire Centre map

The Kamloops Fire Centre is one of six regional wildland fire centres operated by the B.C. Forest Service's Wildfire Management Branch. It is the fire dispatch and operational centre for wildland fire fighting in south central B.C., covering an area extending from Blue River in the north to the U.S. border in the south and from the Bridge River in the west to the Monashee Mountains in the east.

The Kamloops Fire Centre office is located near the airport in Kamloops and is divided into seven geographical fire zones, which encompass Kamloops, Clearwater, Lillooet, Salmon Arm, Merritt, Vernon and Penticton.

The terrain within the Kamloops Fire Centre is extremely diverse, ranging from glaciers in the north to semi-arid desert in the Southern Okanagan, from steep dry canyons in the Lytton and Lillooet area to the Interior rain forest of Salmon Arm. The fuel types include Ponderosa Pine-Douglas Fir, Jack or Lodgepole Pine, Spruce-Balsam, and open range and sagebrush

The Kamloops Fire Centre employs 34 permanent staff and a large number of seasonal support staff including dispatchers and firefighters. Of the 186 highly trained seasonal firefighters, 66 are members of three-person Initial Attack Crews. They are the first firefighters deployed to a fire and may travel by helicopter or truck. The remaining 120 firefighters are divided into six 20-person Unit Crews that work on larger fires. An additional 36 Rapattack firefighters are based in Salmon Arm. They quickly access fires by repelling from a helicopter. A network of community contacts and Fire Wardens support these resources. They assist firefighters as independent agents and form an integral part of the Wildfire Management Branch.

Initial Attack Crews 22 crews 66 crew members

Initial attack (IA) crews are usually first to respond to a fire call and are responsible for containing fires at the smallest size possible through the use of water pumps, clearing forest fuel from the fire path, building guards and felling trees. These crews, deployed either by truck or helicopter, are self-sufficient for 24 hours on a fire.

Locations of Crews

Clearwater 1 crew 3 persons
Kamloops 6 crews 18 persons
Vernon 2 crews 6 persons
Penticton 6 crews 18 persons
Merritt 3 crews 9 persons
Lillooet 4 crews 12 persons

Unit (Sustained Action) Crews 6 crews 120 crew members

Unit crews are 20-person teams that provide fire suppression action on fires that grow to a significant size. These crews may be broken in to smaller groups (squads) depending on the nature of the fire. Unit crews are also called sustained action crews because of their specialized skills in fighting larger blazes, as well as their ability to be self-sufficient on a fire for up to 72 hours.

Locations of Crews

Kamloops 1 crew 20 persons
Merritt 2 crews 40 persons
Princeton 1 crew 20 persons
Lillooet 1 crew 20 persons
Vernon 1 crew 20 persons

Rappel Crews 12 crews 36 crew members

Although the rappel crews are a provincial resource, the base is located within the Salmon Arm Fire Zone of the fire centre. The 36 rappel firefighters are divided into twelve 3-person crews. Rapattack crews rappel from a hovering helicopter and specialize in building helipads for initial or unit crew access in remote areas and areas with extreme slope.

Locations of Crews

Salmon Arm 12 crews 36 persons