Islanders battle forest fires in northern BC

  • Jul. 21, 2004 4:00 p.m.

Three islanders recently returned from the mainland, where they were helping douse the 250 forest fires which are ravaging northern BC and the Yukon.
Louis Bourcet worked as a safety officer at a fire near Watson Lake, Cam Paterson worked as a logistics officer out of Smithers and Lorraine Thomas worked as a dispatcher out of Terrace.
After last year’s fire season, the province created a partnership program whereby regular forest service employees are recruited temporarily for firefighting support to free up trained firefighters to work on the front lines, said Mr. Bourcet.
Firefighters are organized like an army, Mr. Bourcet said. The foot soldiers are the people working to put out the fire, but they can’t deal with the fire and the logistics of putting it out, so a whole other group of people work behind the lines to organize supplies, maintain a camp, get food and water and make sure communication lines are working. It’s this kind of work that the regular forest service employees do when they are recruited for fire fighting.
Mr. Bourcet worked at a 40,000 hectare fire two hours west of Watson Lake on the Alaska Highway. Fires are normally allowed to burn themselves out unless they will impact humans in some way Mr. Bourcet said. This fire closed down the highway, and threatened a guide outfitter and a highways maintenance yard, so a crew of 60-70 firefighters with about 20 support staff were deployed to deal with it.
At one point the smoke was so thick a helicopter couldn’t land in Watson Lake. Fortunately nature helped control the fire with rain.
“It’s one of those things where I wish there weren’t any fires, but I’m glad to be able to help if there is one,” said Mr. Bourcet.

Just Posted

Northern Savings buys old Dairy Queen building

Old Prince Rupert DQ building has been vacant in since the 1990s

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay powers up with solar panels and Tesla battery packs

Solar power got another big boost on Haida Gwaii last week, with… Continue reading

Sandspit candidates focus on ferries, housing, and emergency plans

It may be first, but restoring Kwuna ferry sailings isn’t the only… Continue reading

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

Police in Canada posted a photo of a $215 ticket given to someone who allegedly had a baggy of marijuana in their car

Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake drill reminder

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Great ShakeOut

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Just 7% of Northern B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

Most Read