Rescue crews save eaglets trapped by Kamloops wildfire
Residents of modular home park relieved 'community pets' are safe
Dave Somerton is breathing a sigh of relief after crews saved two eaglets stuck in their nest during a wildfire that threatened his own home.
Somerton lives in Sage Meadows Modular Home Park in Kamloops, B.C., which was under an evacuation alert Friday due to a wildfire north of East Shuswap Road.
The fire also threatened the nest of a well loved pair of bald eagles, whose two eaglets are still too young to fly.
Residents at Sage Meadows have watched the parents come back annually to the same tree, located about half a kilometre from Somerton's backyard, to have their babies and teach them to fly.
"It's interesting that everybody in the park was more concerned about saving the eagles than they were about their own homes," said Somerton.
"The eagles have become kind of community pets."
When Kamloops Fire Rescue and the B.C. Wildfire Service learned of the trapped eaglets, they rallied to protect them.
Capt. Daryl Cooper with Kamloops Fire Rescue said crews initially tried to douse the scorched tree from above by helicopter, but could not get close enough without harming the young birds.
Eventually, crews fighting the blaze from the ground were able to save both the birds and the tree.
Somerton said the eagle rescue showed an amazing cooperative effort by local and provincial fire crews.
"It was pretty obvious that these guys knew what the heck they were doing," said Somerton. "I think they were as emotionally involved as everyone else was."
Cooper said crews are planning to check in on the eagles on Monday, but as far as he knows they are thriving.
"In this case, we got a win," he said.
The wildfire grew to more than 500 hectares but is now under control and is not expected to grow further.
No homes in the park were damaged by the fire.