DNVFRS firefighters join wildfire battles across BC

By District Staff on Tuesday, Jun 20, 2023

Wildfire season in BC is lasting longer – and causing more devastation.

That has resulted in more deployments for District of North Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services firefighters across the province. 

With expertly trained crews and specialized equipment for fighting wildfires, DNVFRS members are in demand.

“We’re deploying our firefighters to support BC Wildfire Services across the province to assist communities in need. These deployments also provide valuable field experience,” says DNVFRS Fire Chief Brian Hutchinson.

Donnie Creek and Anahim Lake deployments

On May 15, DNVFRS dispatched three firefighters to the Donnie Creek wildfire near Fort St. John.

The crew brought one of the DNVFRS’s new wildland pickup trucks specifically designed to tackle rugged terrain and enable firefighters to get a jump on dousing fast-moving forest fires.

The four-wheel-drive truck carries 350 gallons of water and has a high-pressure pump. DNVFRS added three of the trucks to its fleet last year.

On May 19, a DNVFRS sent a five-person DNVFRS crew with a structure protection unit (SPU) to the Anahim Lake area at the western edge of the Chilcotin District. An SPU portable sprinkler system protects up to 40 homes by spraying water on and around the buildings and is in high demand when firefighters are working hard to save homes from wildfire devastation.

“Given we are early in the 2023 fire season, I would anticipate further deployments,” says Fire Chief Hutchinson.

Wildfire ready

Because there is a significant area in the District where the community meets the forest, DNVFRS takes wildfire preparedness seriously and trains year-round for this potential threat.

“We’re recognized as a provincial leader in wildfire training, readiness and response and during wildfire season our team members’ skills are coveted and requested to deploy throughout the province,” says Fire Chief Hutchinson.

Since 2018, 49 DNVFRS firefighters have filled 133 positions in 16 communities, which has helped the department to carry out its primary priority – protecting and serving DNV residents.

“This enhances our local capacity and capabilities as our crews bring back lessons learned and best practices to incorporate into our own programs,” says Fire Chief Hutchinson.

Along with specialized training for its crews, DNVFRS has a strategic plan to acquire equally-specialized equipment to respond when needed.

In addition to the new wildland trucks, they’ve recently added two HydroSub-60 mobile water supply units that enable firefighters to effectively battle blazes in wildland areas where fire hydrants aren’t available.

“We have remote communities in Woodlands, Sunshine Falls, and Cascades that have limited fire hydrants or none, and these units dramatically improve our ability to respond to remote wildfires.”

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