We should be thankful for forest-fire crews

Letter by Shirley Waldon
Victoria Times Colonist
October 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “The changing face of B.C. forest fires,” Oct. 8. Nick Raeside provided a good article on the challenges the B.C. Forest Service deals with each fire season. However, he gives the impression that anyone can join the Forest Service provided they know how to chop wood, and use a shovel or a garden hose. As a retired senior procurement officer who oversaw the fire-crew services contracts for the B.C. Forest Service, I can tell you that skill-set requirements today are much more stringent than those in the past. Successful contractors are required to ensure that all personnel meet strict safety requirements, including specialized training such as Level One Incident Command System training. He also failed to mention the long hours and harsh conditions under which fire crews work. This is no nine-to-five job. It’s typically 12- to 14-hour days in hot, dry, smoky conditions that would make most of us wither in a few hours.

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