BC firefighters hone skills during two-day wildfire training program in Penticton – Penticton News
More than 200 firefighters from across the province prepared for the wildfire season this weekend in Penticton.
The wildfire symposium was held over the weekend to allow firefighters to train and practice, using techniques on the ground and in the air.
Several controlled burns were set up on Campbell Mountain and included the use of a flyover to put out a fire by helicopter.
“[We’re] cross-training as much as possible to be on the same page from a training perspective and a language perspective so that we can work better together when fire season inevitably hits,” said Mikhail Elsay, the wildfire assistant for the symposium.
On Sunday, the firefighting boots in the ground course had 43 participants and six instructors all working together.
The head of the operations section, André Chalabi, works with the structure protection unit during urban interface events.
“I’m just providing some perspective on the expectations and what they would most likely see in the events and then working on the actual integration of the structure protection environment with the wilderness environment” , did he declare.
Calabi said the biggest benefit from last year’s devastating wildfire season is to use what worked and change what the operation needs to do to improve.
The key was to build relationships between wildland and structural firefighters this weekend.
“This is a crucial part of our spring training. Fire principles, sort of cross-training and cross-agency participation, is an important part of preparing for fire seasons,” Elsay said.
“These weekends are fantastic ways to work together and be on the same page, we’re starting to build relationships with each other. So I would say that’s the biggest lesson of these last few years as social service departments work more and more together.”
A BCWS firefighter used the weekend to boost his skills, after helping in Merritt and Quesnel last year
“I enjoyed every moment of it. Yesterday I was in class, sort of going over the basics of wildfire fighting,” Kieran Simpson said.
“My grandfather was a firefighter and my dad was a firefighter all over town here. So, kind of, I’m following in the footsteps of the family, and I loved the whole thing.”
The official Penticton Fire action photographer was on hand this weekend to take pictures of the symposium.
Photo: Mike Biden
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