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

UPDATED: Winston Blackmore’s appeal of polygamy charge underway

B.C. religious leader argues persecution due to religous beliefs.

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Concerns raised by Cranbrook Veterinarians following fatally ill dogs

Dog owners are urged to avoid the Cranbrook Community Forest after multiple dogs have fallen ill

MLA Shypitka not surprised by Site C decision

The Site C dam in the Peace River region will be moving… Continue reading

Columbia River Treaty to be renegotiated in early 2018

News came in a Tweet from the U.S. Department of State

Historic art restored at St. Eugene Church

The rejuvenation of a building of great historic and artistic significance continues at Aq’am.

WATCH: The week in review

A look at some of this week’s top stories in Cranbrook

New organization takes on distracted driving

Still in their early stages, Society Against Distracted Driving seeks to raise awareness, education

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

Most Read