"Does it scare me a little bit? Yep!"


He had ice in his veins during the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.

Gerry Zimmerman was Kelowna's fire chief back then.

18 years later, he admitted to AM 1150 News, he gets a little anxious with the current fire situation this summer.

"Ours (fire) basically got cook'n in the middle of August. So, does it scare me a little bit? Yep! When I saw those pictures of Osoyoos and Oliver and saw those walls of flame, it look just like people standing on the other side of the lake looking at our fire. That is exactly what it looked like."      

Zimmerman says BC wildfire crews know what they are doing and can be trusted with the information they are releasing to the public.    

"The public needs to know that they can trust these guys. Are they better? Ya. Every fire you learn a little bit more. I noticed the communication is better. During our fire, our big thing was keeping the public notified.  I think they are trying to do that better now".  

Experts are suggesting this is the new normal. An increase in forest fires means heavy smoke in the Okanagan during the summer months.

"We had a bunch of experts from Southern California come up and they said we are going to have more incidents like this in the future. I didn't believe it at the time. I believe them now. This is exactly what they predicted", Zimmerman added.