Free Wildfire training returns to Campbell River

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

NIC’s Wildfire Training is returning to Campbell River this February.

The free, four-week skills training will prepare students to work on wildfire fighting crews in BC and Alberta and is made possible thanks to funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement. The training is offered in partnership with Strategic Natural Resource Consultants.

“The program includes important safety training and the technical aspects of how fires are suppressed, along with how to use hand tools and power pumps, and information about air support from helicopters and air tankers,” said NIC wildfire instructor Henry Grierson.

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

Grierson notes that having crews trained and ready to go makes a big difference during wildfire seasons, especially in years with a lot of wildfire activity, like BC saw in the summer of 2021.

“The BC Wildfire Service has a set number of crews and firefighters every season,” said Grierson. “If we have a very active fire season those crews are tapped out quickly. That’s when additional qualified crew are needed.”

The work is hard, but rewarding, said 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.”

The training will run from February 28 – March 29.

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

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