FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Wildfire Service is looking to add between ten to fourteen more smokejumpers to its team in Fort St. John this year.
The service currently employs about 43 crew members in FSJ, 33 of those being the primary ground response crew. Approximately 10 of those members are actively jumping.
Jeremy Sieb, a wildfire technician and supervisor of Parrattack, says that the members of the Parratack team are trained like any other wildfire crew in the province, but with one piece of additional training — they parachute out of airplanes.
“The only difference is we are trained to parachute from fixed-wing airplanes to get to the fires, remote or not. The parachuting component is just an additional piece of training. Once the folks are on the ground, they’re doing the same job as everybody else,” Sieb said.
Sieb says this training is crucial to wildfire fighting as it allows the service to airdrop equipment to anywhere it’s needed within the province in a quick timeframe.
“The reason why smoke jumping is successful is based on speed, payload, range and efficiency, or endurance. The beauty of smoke jumping is that we can supply a lot of staff, a lot of firefighting equipment to anywhere in the province within two hours,” Sieb explained.
According to Sieb, to be a smokejumper, recruits must meet the following criteria:
Sieb says ideally, BCWS is looking for those with a higher level of First Aid, having a strong work ethic and two years of wildfire experience, possibly with a military or trades background.
The BCWS will be hiring for various positions, including entry-level firefighters, logistics staff, and communications specialists.
Those interested in applying to any of the above positions can click here for more information.