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Office of the Fire Commissioner, Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. and the BC Wildfire Service cooperate to train local fire departments

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue (KBRFR) responds to a wildfire on Hospital Bench in September 2018. KBRFR’s Trail Station will host wildland fire suppression supervisory training for 39 firefighters from across the West Kootenay and Boundary this week, in cooperation with the Office of the Fire Commissioner, BC Wildfire Service and instructors from the cities of Penticton and West Kelowna. — Submitted photo

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue (KBRFR) crews along with other Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) firefighters from Christina Lake, Grand Forks and from fire departments across the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) will participate in advanced wildfire suppression training this week.

Thirty-nine structural firefighters will gain the skills and knowledge to lead a single fire engine and attached personnel to fight wildland fires this summer.

Structural firefighters trained in wildland firefighting are dispatched to fight wildfires at the request of the BC Wildfire Service or the Office of the Fire Commissioner. The two-day Engine Boss course trains firefighters how to safely lead their crew and to take responsibility for crew safety and reporting to other incident supervisors during a wildland fire incident.

“We’re really pleased that firefighters from across the RDKB and RDCK will receive training in more advanced supervisory roles during a wildfire and allow us to expand our capacity to help the BC Wildfire Service fight wildfires across the region this summer,” said Dan Derby, Regional Fire Chief, Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue.

Derby, who is also president of the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia (FCABC), said the course was developed in partnership between the Office of the Fire Commissioner and the BC Wildfire Service, and is supported by the FCABC and host fire departments including KBRFR.

“This kind of training only happens when everyone involved in fire suppression – structural and wildland – cooperates toward the same goal of getting more structural firefighters trained to take on leadership roles during interface wildfires so we can respond as a team with BC Wildfire to keep people safe during wildfire season.”

“We’re also really thankful to our instructors from the City of West Kelowna and the City of Penticton who took the time to develop and deliver this course.

"Everyone has stepped up to make sure we keep improving our fire suppression skills at the municipal and local government levels.”

Field training for the course will take place on Saturday, June 5 in Trail after a one-day online training session.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue serves Lower Columbia communities including electoral areas A and B/Lower Columbia-Old Glory from fire halls in Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Genelle, Montrose, and Fruitvale.

The RDKB also provides fire rescue services from stations in Christina Lake, rural Grand Forks, Kettle Valley, Beaverdell and at Big White.