It's not every day you go to for a hike out in the woods and return a hero. But that’s exactly what happened when two families in BC put out a wildfire they noticed while hiking over the weekend. Over three hours, they managed to clear brush and dump water on the flames to suppress a fire before fire crews arrived that could have been catastrophic. 

On Aug. 16, Rick Lefpazloh and his family were hiking with their two small kids to Strike Lake in B.C. near Manning Park. While on the hike, Rick noticed smoke near the shoreline of Flash Lake in an area where no fires are permitted.

Manning Park Resort recounted the discovery on their website and even spoke with Rick who said that “something didn’t sit right with me and I decided to hike around the lake while my family took a snack break.” Acting quickly, Lefpazloh decided to message some co-workers to report the smoke before investigating.

As Lefpazloh got closer to the source of smoke, he didn't see any backpackers or campers. Instead, he saw an area of about five square metres on fire!

He then recruited his family for help at which point they all began to extinguish the flames. “We would not sit by to watch the beginning of a forest fire in one of our favourite places to hike,” said Rick to Manning Park. 

Everyone began to start clearing the brush and trees to eliminate any fuel for the fire. Rick Lefpazloh's wife, Andra, hauled water from the lake about five metres away. 

“My two boys helped by poking at the extinguished areas and throwing small branches and undergrowth into the lake,” said Lefpazloh.

After about two hours of hard work, another family of three adults and five children happened to walk by the scene. Andrew and Paige Irwin, along with their family, began to join in and help the others to suppress the fire.

“We continued to dump water on the fire with our Osprey Dry bags, about 10 litres at a time for about 3 hours and what I can best guess would have been over 1500 litres of water,” Lefpazloh said.

Finally, a Manning Park crew attended after hearing the calls and found that the fire had already been extinguished. At his point, both the families had moved on with their days as if they didn’t just save the forest!

Manning Park crew members worked alongside BC Wildfire crews to confirm that all hotspots were put out. 

Thanks to both the families acting fast and working together, the trail was saved from a potentially disastrous situation. Manning Park Resort has invited both families to return for another vacation on the house with a free night in one of the premium cabins and their choice of boat rentals or ski lift tickets.

Hopefully next time they come to the park, they can kick back and relax rather than fight the front lines of a forest fire!

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