Northwest zone prepared for forest fire season

As of May 6 the Northwest Fire Centre has been at full fire crew capacity.

As of May 6 the Northwest Fire Centre has been at full fire crew capacity.

Initial Attack crews, three member crews, are situated two apiece in Terrace, Hazelton, Telkwa and Burns Lake.

Unit crews, which consist of 20 members and normally battle medium to large fires, are also at the above bases.

Suzanne Pearce, Ministry of Forest media representative for the northwest zone, said crews are nearing full preparedness.

“In the last few weeks all members have been conducting recurrency training,” Pearce said.

“Of course the first day was the fitness test.”

To be fully eligible for fire-line duty all must pass a fitness test, which has been revamped.

The new four-part test, based on WFX-FIT, is meant to simulate more accurately what a firefighter will encounter in the field.

There have been 26 total fires in the northwest zone, which stretches from south of Kitimat, east of Burns Lake and north to the Yukon/ B.C. border, since April 1, 2013.

“We currently have one Initial Attack crew on stand-by at the Dease Lake base,” Pearce said on May 24.

“That is the hottest and driest area within our zone right now.

“And there’s an Initial Attack crew on stand-by at each base over the weekend.”

The northern portion of the zone is expected to be the most active over the next couple of weeks, where potential for fire is concerned, Pearce said.

“Temperatures have dropped in the last little while,” she said.

“But we haven’t got a lot of rain yet.

“So people shouldn’t take the low temperatures for granted.”

To report a wildfire call 1-800-663-5555 or text *5555.

For current wildfire activity in B.C. visit bcwildfire.ca/situation.