The BC Wildfire Service is providing $305,000 to fund research projects examining the health issues facing wildland firefighters (BC Wildfire Service photo)

Research to examine BCWS firefighters’ health

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) is funding research at two western universities that will focus on how wildland firefighters’ work affects their health.

The $305,000 will fund projects to be conducted by researchers at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the University of Alberta, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) said in a news release on Oct. 29.

“Our firefighters have worked hard on the front lines to keep British Columbians safe during difficult and record-setting wildfire seasons,” said FLNRORD minister Doug Donaldson. “These studies will help us support their long-term health and well-being.”

The UNBC portion of the research will be led by Chelsea Pelletier, an assistant professor at UNBC’s School of Health Sciences.

Pelletier will examine scientific literature from around the world for all dimensions of firefighter health, including the physical, mental and emotional aspects.

Her work will try to find solutions to reduce any health impacts firefighters face and “identify any gaps in the work-related health knowledge of wildland firefighters and associated personnel.”

The outcomes of the project will help the BCWS set up a long-term research strategy for worker health, expected to be complete by the summer of 2020.

The University of Alberta research will be led by Nicola Cherry, the chair of occupational health with that university’s Division of Preventive Medicine.

Cherry will look at hydrocarbons in the air that firefighters inhale and which accumulate on their skin; the effectiveness of respiratory protective equipment for firefighters; and if wildland firefighters face more chronic lung diseases than other people of the same age, gender and geographic location.

About 50 BCWS firefighters have taken part in that study and firefighters from Alberta are going to join it as well.

A progress report on Cherry’s research is expected in March 2020.


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

Just Posted

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

Police look for suspect in Nov. 10 homicide

Victim identified as Elijah Dumont

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Still no sign of missing Houston woman

Laureen Fabian last seen Oct. 28

Cullen gets $89,000 in post-MP severance

At 55, the former MP will also be eligible for an $82,000 per annum pension

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

B.C. municipality wants ALC to reconsider their decision in regard to pipeline work camp

The ALC had rejected the construction of the Coastal GasLink work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport in October

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

Most Read