Firefighting training instructor Kelly Hatfull, left, and Chilliwack Fire Capt. Trevor Kirkpatrick talk to Canadian military reservists, who are training before being deployed to fight wildfires in B.C. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Canadian military personnel learn how to fight fires in Chilliwack

Reservists learn to keep safe on the fire line before heading to the Interior

About 200 reservists from the Canadian Armed Forces are completing a two-day firefighting course this week in Chilliwack before being deployed to fight wildfires in B.C.

The military personnel are being trained by Kelly Hatfull, a register professional forester and training consultant, who is guiding them through the S-100 basic fire suppression certification.

“We are counting on the military, the reserves, to come out and help us in the Interior of British Columbia with the fire situation,” Hatfull said.

The course is all about safety first, and making them aware of the hazards they’ll face on the fire line.

“Everything’s a hazard really, the fire, the smoke, the changing weather, rolling debris,” Hatfull said.

Danger trees, and beetle-kill trees can also put lives at risk.

RCMP are “burning out,” he said, and the province is bringing crews from around the world to pitch in.

But the reservists, from bases across B.C., bring something unique.

“Firefighting is a paramilitary operation,” Hatfull said. “These guys are reservists so they understand incident command systems.

“The military’s really important role here is to support all the other resources that are out on the fires now.”

The specialized training sessions are happening at the Chilliwack Fire Department’s new training facility on Wolfe Road. The department and the city offered the 4.5-acre training site when they got the request from military officials and BC Wildfire Service.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for us to be able help British Columbia during this time,” said Andy Brown, assistant fire chief of training.

Some of their highly experienced personnel are helping with the courses, and some have been deployed to the wildfire zones.

So far 95 members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been trained in Chilliwack and sent out to help. Another two courses are set for this weekend, bringing the total to 200 military personnel who will have cycled through the training.


 

@chwkjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surveying wildfire damage

UBC researchers use drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in B.C.’s Interior

Gallery: After school games for young children at the Library

At the Houston Public Library on Dec. 7, 2017 there was after… Continue reading

Rent continues to rise in Prince Rupert, drops in Terrace

A report from Canadian Mortage and Housing Corporation shows the average rent has risen by $132

Gallery: Alice in Wonderful Silverthorne

On Dec. 2, 2017 the Missoula Children’s Theatre presented Alice in Wonderland… Continue reading

Gallery: Cram the cruiser in Houston

The annual cram the cruiser fundraiser for the Houston Salvation Army Christmas… Continue reading

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Missing Alberta man could be headed to Victoria

Police in Alberta say Vernon “Allan” Pickard has not been heard from since late November

Cineplex charges extra at some Star Wars screenings

Fans are getting a surprise twist at the box office with extra $1 charges for assigned seating

Toddler sent to hospital following dog bite at Vancouver Island daycare

Malamute/husky cross involved in incident at 1200-block of Burnside Rd. West

Local guides aren’t happy with grizzly ban

Guides say new ban could end businesses, including first nations outfitters and float planes.

Provincial Contractor of the Year awards handed out across B.C.

Deputy Minister’s 2017 awards recognize excellence in transportation and infrastructure

Most Read