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Apex Mountain snowmaking guns ready to fight wildfire

Snow making guns can shoot water 150 feet and oscillate
The snow making machines are primed and ready to fight the Keremeos Creek wildfire if the blaze starts threatening the popular ski village. (Apex Mountain Resort)

The snow making guns at the Apex Mountain ski resort are primed and ready if needed to fight the Keremeos Creek wildfire.

Apex Mountain Resort general manager James Shalman said they are currently laying down their snow making guns in strategic locations and are ready to go if the fire nears the ski village.

“The snow making machines can shoot water 150 feet and they oscillate,” said Shalman. “They can put out a large amount of moisture in the air.”

Shalman has been at the Apex village since 6 a.m. on Sunday (July 31) getting everything prepared.

“Currently, we are beautiful blue skies but if the wind changes it’s a whole different story,” he said.

The entire Apex Mountain village and surrounding areas were put on evacuation alert on Saturday night after the Keremeos Creek fire showed aggressive fire behaviour in that direction.

Over 350 properties are on alert to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

READ MORE: Apex Mountain village placed on evacuation alert

Using the snow making machines to fight fires has been in Apex’s fire prevention plans for years.

“There are very few mountains like ours that have snow making machines that go from the top of the mountain to the bottom,” said Shalman. “That means we can cover a lot of area.”

The Keremeos Creek fire is burning out of control at around 440 hectares in size. Luckily, the wildfire saw minimal growth overnight Sunday.

However, more properties were put on evacuation order Saturday night.

Ten firefighters conducted patrols and structural protection where necessary throughout the night, said BC Wildfire Service information officer Ayden Corey.

“Low visibility is currently presenting challenges for aerial support resources. One helicopter is currently on site, with three additional helicopters available once visibility improves,” Corey added.

READ MORE: Keremeos Creek wildfire burning closer to Highway 3A

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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