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NIC’s free wildfire training returns to Campbell River

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Free training for wildfire firefighting is returning to Campbell River in February.

The four-week skills training course aims to get students prepared for wildfire fighting. The course gives students certifications including first aid, power saw, radio training and WHMIS.

“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.

Training is being made available through the Canadian Government and the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement.

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Following the fire season of 2021 that saw some of the highest temperatures in Canadian history recorded and the town of Lytton burned to the ground, Grierson says having more crew available and ready to go is key.

“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.”

Grierson says while the job can be very rewarding, it’s difficult work and those who enjoy an adrenaline rush tend to go for it.

“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.”

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“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.”

Training runs from Feb. 28 – Mar. 29. Details and applications can be found at www.nic.bc.ca/wildfire.

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