Rotary club donates $12K to Sun Peaks Volunteer Fire Department Society

The large sum will help the Sun Peaks Volunteer Fire Department Society purchase an equipment trailer to help fight forest fires.
Members of the Rotary Club stand alongside SPVFRS volunteers, holding an oversized cheque for $12,000.
 Rotary club members Linda Hollyer, Julie Kimmel and Ted Kierstead present SPVFDS’ Mike Billheimer, Robin Kierstead and Mark Jones with their $12,000 donation. Photo provided.

After the 2021 Embleton fire sparked discussions around preparing for future wildfire events, members of the Sun Peaks community are pitching in to protect the region.

On March 21, the Sun Peaks Rotary Club donated a cheque for $12,000 to Sun Peaks Volunteer Fire Department Society (SPVFDS).

The money will be used to purchase an interface trailer, which is used for fighting interface fires, a type of wildfire that threatens buildings as well as forest fuel or vegetation. 

SPVFDS president Mike Billheimer said interface protection is used to create a wet area between developed and undeveloped environments, which is the strategy the fire department used in Whitecroft during the Embleton fire. The trailer will house equipment for quick deployment in the event of future wildfires.

“The trailer houses all the tools and equipment necessary to set up a sprinkler system to create a humidity bubble to protect exposed areas,” Billheimer said. 

Ted Kierstead from the Rotary Club said funds were raised through the club’s bottle drive after a volunteer noticed SPVFDS often donated containers.

Bottle drive volunteer Michael Fane and SPVFDS president Mike Billheimer started chatting about how to fight a fire if it approached Sun Peaks after the Embleton wildfire came close to the village. Their conversation led the Rotary Club to fundraise for a trailer that could go where it’s needed with equipment when wildfires approach town.

“In January, the [SPVFDS] put in a formal request to the Rotary Club for funds … so we donated $12,000 for a trailer,” Kierstead said.

All funds raised through the Rotary Club’s bottle drive go back to the community. Kierstead said donations don’t just help raise funds— they also divert bottles from the transfer station, which reduces the station’s operating costs and taxes.

“The trailer itself before any outfitting runs about $16,000 plus or minus … there’s going to have to be some decalling to make it identifiable and to recognize the two [organizations],” Billheimer explained, adding more outfitting will be necessary before the department can stock it with equipment.

He said the rest of the funding for the purchase will come from the fire department through the municipality’s budget, grant applications and the SPVFDS charity gala.

“We’ve made significant investments over the last two years to help reinforce the tools and equipment we have available if we have a similar incident to Embleton.”

For those looking to donate bottles, Kierstead said the club accepts “any container that a teenage boy would drink from. That would be milk, pop, beer, cider, wine bottle [and more].”

The Rotary Club’s bottle depot is located on Industrial Way.

Help us bring you more local news

SPIN has been able to serve Sun Peaks as its sole news source for over 20 years thanks to the overwhelming support of our community. Join over 126 of your neighbours and become a monthly or yearly member so that we can continue to regularly publish the digital newsletters and stories our readers rely on.

Help us hit our summer membership goal of 20 new members!

SPIN has been bringing Sun Peaks together for 21 years.

Become a member or upgrade your contribution so we can keep connecting you with our neighbours and our home.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top