Firefighters in the training from across B.C. fought a live fire on Sunday. (Penticton Fire Department photo)

Real-world experience in interface firefighting in the Okanagan

Fire chief Larry Watkinson says real-world training was an “incredible experience”

It was a busy weekend of wildfire training with sprinkler systems going off, wildfires igniting and aircraft and fire trucks zooming over and around Penticton.

Fire chief Larry Watkinson called the second annual Wildland Urban Interface Wildfire Training Symposium “incredible,” because of the real-world experience firefighters had.

On Saturday, they participated in classes looking at structure protection, leadership skills in a wildland environment, tactics and boots-on-the-ground training.

Exercises involving live fires and air support all happened Sunday so firefighters could experience what it was like to fight a real fire to prepare for wildfire season.

READ MORE: Expect to see wildfire smoke, helicopters and fire trucks in the Penticton area this weekend

Residents in Campbell Mountain, Sendero Canyon and West Bench got to experience some of the training, said Watkinson. Sprinkler systems were set up around several homes in the sprinkler protection class.

“It basically creates a humidity bubble around the home so when a fire comes to it, it flattens down to the ground and sprinklers protect the house. That’s the whole theory behind it,” he said, adding that fighting wildfires is much different from fighting a standard house fire.

“We have to employ new strategies and tactics to teach so when a Vancouver firefighter comes up from the lower mainland, who has maybe never been in a wildfire before, has an understanding of how to deal with and mitigate and set up protections for those homes.”

Clear and accurate communication is vitally important when fighting wildfires, Watkinson added.

More than 200 firefighters from 26 different municipalities learned this in exercises involving aircraft dropping buckets of water on hot spots ignited in the forest.

READ MORE: Penticton to host wildfire training symposium

“We’d have to have communications between the air officer and the firefighters on the ground so that nobody got a bunch of water dumped on them, and got injured doing that,” he said.

“There is a lot of training as it relates to the communications on how air crafts work with firefighters on the ground when you are actually containing a fire.”

It’s an intense weekend of training, he added.

“It’s very structured, and highly disciplined because people are training in context and it is the real world,” he said. “If you goof around, you could lose a fire, and it could get bad really fast.”

But despite the potential for things to go south, Watkinson said the two-day training symposium, “Went off without a hitch.”

READ MORE: UPDATE: Tire pile and campers ablaze at Penticton Speedway

“We believe it’s important to train this way,” Watkinson said. “We had great participation from all the different agencies. We had people from all over the province so it was great to showcase Penticton.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grand
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Live-fire training took place in the neighbourhoods of Campbell Mountain, Sendero Canyon and West Bench. (Penticton Fire Department photo)

More than 200 firefighters from 26 different municipalities participated. (Penticton Fire Department photo)

Firefighters put out a live fire on Campbell Mountain. (Penticton Fire Department photo)

Just Posted

BREAKING: Cat and dog die in house fire in Rutland

The house is located 165 Valleyview Road in Rutland

Kelowna events honour women killed at l’École Polytechnique 30 years ago

Dec. 6 is also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Kelowna RCMP bring holiday joy to seniors

Local officers are visiting retirement homes to sing Christmas carols

Arkells headline 2020 AltiTunes Music Festival at Big White

Arkells will be joined by Dear Rouge for a one-day extravaganze April 4

Rockets add size and strength via trade for T-Birds’ captain

Kelowna brings in Seattle’s Matthew Wedman and trade away Leif Mattson

Fashion Fridays: Ethical and sustainable gifts for the season

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Bird populations significantly declining around Revelstoke says Parks Canada

Out of the mountain national parks, bird populations near Revelstoke are in the worst shape

Interior Health finds Penticton’s fatal overdose rate ‘alarming’

The rate has been consistenly increasing since 2015

WATCH: Diehard Vernon Winter Carnival goers line up for tickets

Susan O’Brien was the first in line at 6:45 a.m. Friday

B.C. Transit scores 28 used fareboxes on eBay, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Year in jail for ex-Vernon Judo coach for child porn

Bryan McLachlan pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing child pornography

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

Most Read