Gorman Bros. Mill saved from flames
By Don Plant The Daily Courier
Kelowna, BC Canada
Employees, firefighters and Mother Nature have helped defend the Gorman Bros. mill from catastrophe -- so far.
The massive lumber mill, West Kelowna’s largest employer, has been at the epicentre of the Glenrosa fire since it broke out above the site Saturday afternoon. Aside from fire damage to the roof of a finger-jointer and some burned lumber piles, the mill was still intact Sunday afternoon.
"We’ve been very fortunate. A lot of people have been working very hard," said Nick Arkle, the company’s chief forester.
"The damage can be repaired. There might be an impact on production for awhile."
A crew of about 20 employees worked Saturday night and Sunday morning to douse the property and make sure spot fires didn’t break out. Despite their efforts, several piles of 1-by-10- and 1-by-12-inch lumber near the forest edge went up in flames.
Helicopters resumed bucketing water around the mill and a fresh crew of 15 to 20 employees replaced the overnight brigade after daybreak Sunday. Firefighters with the forest service and structural fire departments ensured flames nearby didn’t spread.
The wind was fairly calm in the morning. It blew from the southeast Sunday afternoon, which took the fire away from the mill but uphill toward Gates and McIver roads.
"The fire is fairly stable," Arkle said at 3:30 p.m. from the Gorman Bros. log yard. "All we need is strong winds and it will all blow up again."
The Okanagan has been hit with a fiery cocktail of low humidity, heat and strong winds.
Picture by Stew Alcock from Castanet.net.
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