Firefighters prepare for wildfire season

Due to the increased risk of forest fires, about 60 firefighters, paramedics and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers conducted a joint exercise on Thursday in North Vancouver, on the border between the forest and the city.

In fact, these fires start earlier and earlier in British Columbia. Last winter being drier than previous years, firefighters fear a season of forest fires still charged.

To prepare for this, the city’s emergency services deployed in two locations on the north shore of Vancouver, where new construction is approaching the trees.

Brian Hutchinson, Chief of Fire and Rescue Services North Vancouver, looks forward to working with West Vancouver firefighters. This is an opportunity for us to bring together the different teams, he explains.

Firefighters deployed pipes at the foot of the trees, installed water tanks and used helicopters loaded with water. They triggered smoke to simulate a real fire.

We simulate a forest fire in our urban environment.

Brian Hutchinson, Chief, North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services

The exercise is conducted every two years and is becoming increasingly necessary according to Fiona Dercole, Director of Emergency Management for the North Shore of Vancouver.

Historically, there were few large-scale wildfires taking place here, thanks to the coastal climate, she explains. Now, 2017 and 2018 have been two of the most devastating forest seasons. It is anticipated that this will become more common with climate change.

Summers are getting longer and dryer, which increases the risk of forest fires, which also last longer and longer. Last August, a fire near Horseshoe Bay recalled that wildfires could also threaten cities.

Firefighters are evaluating the results of the training and will share best practices with their colleagues in Greater Vancouver.

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