Wildfire fighters work in heavy smoke, and in Canada have little protection

By Katie Nicholson
CBC News
July 6, 2023
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Ian Sachs

After 13 seasons of fighting smoky wildfires in Ontario and B.C., Ian Sachs said his body started to feel the wear and tear. …Sachs said outside of COVID, he was never offered any kind of respiratory protection. But, he’s not sure there were any masks that would have worked well or held a tight seal in wildfire conditions. …Indeed, the environment of a wildland fire does make it harder to find a mask that works comfortably, and isn’t too bulky to carry for long days and distances. Still, with wildfire risk growing in Canada and firefighters facing elevated levels of cancer, some are unwilling to accept the status quo where there are no requirements for respiratory protection. …Neil McMillan (International Association of Fire Fighters) said the lack of personal protective equipment to lessen the exposure of wildfire fighters is a national problem, encouraging all levels of government to invest in protecting firefighters. 

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