FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John Fire Department is sending a third crew to help battle wildfires in the Oliver area.
Working in 10-day shifts with two travel days, crews are gone for 12 days at a time.
Fort St. John Fire Chief Darrell Blades says the second crew was deployed on August 3rd to relieve Tancock, Bowie and Sullivan, made up of Captain Brent Morgan, Firefighter Adam Winn and Firefighter Jasen Donszelmann.
On August 13th, Firefighter Chris Austin, Firefighter Craig Faulkner and Firefighter Jayden Ockenden will head south to relieve the second crew.
“The Province manages the structural protection resources for all of the fires across the province and will assign the crew where they need resources. When an assignment comes to the end, they look and see if and where additional resources are needed and can re-assign our crew. Or, if additional resources are not required, they can release us and we can return home,” said Chief Blades.
On top of the crews sent down south, Deputy Chief Robert Norton was deployed in Williams Lake to help the Cariboo Regional District in their Emergency Operations Centre as the Operations Section Chief for a 10-day shift.
Norton has since returned, and additional staff are on call to assist the EOC as requested, says Blades.
In addition to supporting other communities, deployed staff have gained valuable experience working in different emergency situations, and working with multiple agencies from across B.C., Canada and internationally allows staff to come back with information that can improve services in their home communities.
Blades says the last few weeks have been busy managing assistance in other communities with ensuring the City maintains adequate resources and staff.
“On top of the staff deployed across the province, our staff that remain here in the community have had to step up and cover shifts, on-call assignments and duty chief assignments for those who are deployed. The entire department, with the support of the City, has done a great job supporting the provincial wildfire response efforts.”
On Tuesday, the Charlie Lake Fire Department sent a second crew to fight wildfires in southern B.C.
Volunteer firefighters Jason Mukjiha and Kyle Winters were deployed to the BC Wildfire Service’s Kamloops office and began working Tuesday on an eight-day rotation to help fight a fire near Falkland, a town midway between Kamloops and Vernon.
The first crew, deployed in early August, arrived back in Fort St. John Wednesday after fighting fires in the Osoyoos and Falkland area.
As of August 12th, there are 264 active wildfires in the province with 61 in the Prince George Fire Centre.
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