Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

Boston Bar and Chilliwack River Valley fire departments are stepping into the fight against B.C. wildfires, manning their fire halls with strike teams during peak fire times.

Crews of three people will be stationed at the Boston Bar/North Bend Volunteer Fire Department and the Chilliwack River Valley Volunteer Fire Department during the day, with Popkum firefighters assisting Boston Bar to fill their spaces. The ‘strike teams’, as the three-person crews are called, were a request from the BC Wildfire Service and will be in place until at least Monday.

“These are both volunteer fire departments, unmanned during the day, so their members respond from work or home, or wherever that may be,” said Reg Dyck, manager of emergency services for the Fraser Valley Regional District.

“Having people at the hall, ready to go at a moments notice, it just provides that extra time that can make the difference between seeing the fire spread or maybe knocking down something quite quickly.”

The crews are stationed at the halls from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the hottest time of day when temperatures are high and humidity low. During these times fires are more aggressive said Dyck, who spent 25 years as a volunteer firefighter, fire chief and trainer. In the morning before 10 a.m. and in the evenings until 10 p.m., firefighters have to be within a thirty minute response time.

The strike teams are made up of firefighters who have gone through wildland fire training, as well as being physically ready for the “not very pleasant work” which could await them if fire strikes.

“All our firefighters, it’s incredible work they’re doing. It’s very, very difficult work,” Dyck said.

The Chilliwack River Valley has two small wildfires burning near Slesse Park — one .25 hectares and the other .01 hectares. Boston Bar has had small wildfires start in the community this summer, none are currently burning.

The number of human-caused fires across the province is unacceptable, said Jason Lum, Chilliwack councillor and FVRD board chair. He implored people to be smart when going out into the natural environment this weekend.

“We’ve got tinder-dry conditions across the regions, we’ve got fire bans across the region, so we’re really just asking people to be very fire smart, obey all the fire bans that are out there. For smokers who are out there, do not flick your cigarette butts out your window,” he said.

“These volunteers working basically around the clock, these strike teams working 14-hour shifts — it’s not just them, it’s their families. It’s all the things they’re giving up to keep us fire safe.”

BC Wildfire are reassessing the need for these strike teams twice a week, looking at the fire conditions and weather.


Is there more to this story?


news@hopestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UFV hosts revitalized Literary Festival featuring some

It’s time for book aficionados unite and celebrate their love of the… Continue reading

Final list of 2018 election candidates confirmed for Chilliwack and beyond

Friday was the deadline for filing nomination papers of candidates running in the 2018 elections

Earl Marriott superstars sink Sardis football Falcons

Byron Ruvalcaba and Sam La Roue led the Mariners to a 34-20 home-field win over Sardis.

UPDATE: Woman from Surrey killed in head-on collision in Chilliwack Saturday

Witnesses in the vehicle struck told first responders the woman appeared to be asleep at the wheel

UPDATE: Province pledges nearly $49 million for new Chilliwack school

Construction on the K-8 school scheduled to begin October 2019 at site along Vedder River

B.C. tent city ‘devastated’ after flash flood

Maple Ridge mayor says that residents shouldn’t have to return to their flooded tents

Allegations against Kavanaugh pose test for #MeToo movement

Aside from the Ford-Kavanaugh showdown, this has been a tumultuous season for the #MeToo movement

Parents of B.C. toddler who died in unlicensed daycare sue over negligence

‘Baby Mac’ was only 16 months old when he died in a Vancouver daycare

5 to start your day

A man charged in the death of Belgian tourist, a Syrian family feeling safe in B.C. and more

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe after settling in B.C.

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down over the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to its home base inside Syria, killing all 15 people on board.

Most Read