Free wildfire fighting training coming to Prince George

NIC Wildfire students learn about water delivery, pump operation and parts of a wildfire fighting kit in Campbell River in 2019.

North Island College on Vancouver Island is expanding its Wildfire Training program to Prince George this spring.

The five-week skills training will run February 28-April 1, 022 and will prepare students to work on wildfire fighting crews in BC and Alberta. The program is offered in partnership with Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, a provincial leader in natural resource and incident management, including wildland firefighting.

It will be offered free to qualified applicants, thanks to funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.

“We’re thrilled to be able to work with North Island College to expand this training opportunity to the Prince George region,” said Jake Wall, Incident Management, Strategic Natural Resource Consultants. “This training will support firefighting efforts in the Prince George region.”  

The program includes safety training and the technical aspects of how fires are suppressed, the use of hand tools, power pumps and information about air support from helicopters and air tankers.

Course certifications also include first aid, power saw, radio training and WHMIS.

The work is hard, but rewarding, said NIC wildfire instructor Henry Grierson.

“It’s physically-demanding work in terms of endurance rather than strength,” he said. “You need to be able to work outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather, for 10-12 hours straight and be engaged for that entire time.”

“It’s a good job for people who enjoy the adrenaline rush, for those who like to travel and be part of a team,” he added. “It’s the kind of work that if you like it, you’ll love it – it gets into your blood.”

Applications for the training program are open now. Visit www.nic.bc.ca/wildfire for details.

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