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

Nanaimo school district expands testing for lead in the water

Annual facilities grant money totalling $110,000 allocated for testing, anticipated to begin Nov. 6

Bite of Nanaimo is sure to dish up something delicious

This year’s TheatreOne fundraiser will celebrate Canada

Lantzville’s legal expenses over budget

The district has spent $22,832 more on legal fees for 2017 than anticipated

Nanaimo man convicted of child sex abuse can appeal conditions of his sentence

Sean James Athey is serving eight years for sexual touching of a child and child porn offences

Nanaimo woman who was adopted can’t get a birth certificate

Manon McGinty, who was adopted in Quebec in the 1960s, says she can’t get social insurance number

Nanaimo Buccaneers make it 10 straight wins

Bucs shut out the Comox Valley Glacier Kings by a 6-0 score Thursday at the NIC

Beefs & Bouquets, Oct. 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

B.C. woman plagued by bedbugs on airplane not surprising, says expert

Heather Szilagyi was on a British Airways flight when she noticed bedbugs crawling out of the seat

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Outspoken Mountie assigned to admin duties for refusing to shave goatee

The 15-year veteran of the force said he believes the RCMP is targeting him

Fire guts former waterfront restaurant in Nanaimo

Early morning blaze causes extensive damage at property recently for sale for $5.9 million

Courtenay boxing coach makes court appearance on assault charges

Jonathan Macleod appeared in Courtenay provincial court Thursday for assault and uttering threats

Most Read