The District of Chetwynd’s fire department says it’s been speaking with their neighbouring communities and fellow fire halls in the region to get a better sense of how best to deploy or redeploy assets and resources during large-scale mutual aid events.
A March 22nd memo was sent to the Chetwynd Mayor and council from the town’s Fire Chief Dan Golob as part of an April 4th agenda package.
“Current wildfire conditions in the province varies from year to year, but the level at which the province is supporting working wildfire interface fires drains the available resources that can be drawn upon and makes each scenario unique and site specific to those decision making factors,” states the memo.
It goes on to note that they’ve contacted the Moberly Lake, Hudson’s Hope, Charlie Lake, Fort St. John, Taylor, Pouce Coupe, Dawson Creek, and Tumbler Ridge fire departments over their deployment procedures and expectation levels.
According to the memo, two large emergency events prompted consultation and review of how best to approach mutual aid – the Mt. Lemoray wildfire last summer and the yard fire at West Fraser Mills.
The Chetwynd fire hall is also in the midst of acquiring a new 3,000 gallon water truck with financial support from the Peace River Regional District, another factor to consider in when and how they offer mutual aid.
“The Department will keep the existing water truck which holds 3,000 gallons to enhance water supply in the rural fire protection area. However, until the new apparatus arrives, each provincial or regional request for out of area request for fire apparatus and staff would have to be evaluated and provisions put in place,” added the memo.
However, they’re not the first municipality in the region to consider bolstering fire command response, with the Hudson’s Hope Fire Department considering the purchase of a new water-equipped command truck in January, also prompted by the Mt. Lemoray fire.
The Chetwynd Fire Department is also collecting a list of potential water truck providers from local industry that could supplement the department’s needs if required, based on the scope of the incident.
However, the memo cautions that the department should not rely on private services being available and should utilize their resources first, with a 1,000 gallon engine also in service.
“The Chetwynd Fire Department cannot rely on industry to be part of the response protocol as there are no guarantees that private services would be available,” notes the memo.