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Province prepares for wildfire season with enhanced recruitment strategy

The B.C. government has developed an improved wildland firefighter recruitment strategy to enhance its firefighting capabilities and resilience. 

B.C. government officials said the new strategy was developed to align with feedback from the Premier’s expert task force on emergencies. 

They added that the improvements to the process have attracted over 1,000 firefighter applicants, with three more months of hiring ahead. 

Minister of Forests, Bruce Ralston, said climate change has created a “higher than ever” demand for skilled firefighters with local knowledge and the province’s strategy will aid in wildfire resilience. 

“By expanding our hiring process to bring in more highly trained professionals, especially in rural communities, we will be more effective at responding to wildfires when and where they happen,” said Ralston. 

The province said its enhanced strategy includes extending the hiring period, expanding First Nations boot camps, and encouraging applicants to specify their preferred work locations.  

The measures aim to strengthen pathways for participation in wildfire response, specifically for residents in rural and remote communities. 

Additionally, the province says it is also expanding a training and recruitment model dedicated to First Nations communities, with the extension of the successful First Nations boot camp pilot in the Cariboo Fire Centre to spring 2024. 

Wayne Schnitzler, task force member and executive director of First Nations’ Emergency Services Society, said he is glad to see the province taking action to shore up First Nations and rural communities’ wildfire response. 

“People living in First Nations, rural, and remote communities bear a disproportionate impact from the rising threat of wildfires,” said Schnitzler. “I’m pleased to see the Province is boosting recruitment initiatives. These initiatives break down barriers and pave the way for increased participation of Indigenous peoples as wildland firefighters.” 

The release says BC Wildfire Service has shifted to a longer, rolling application model over six months, which has allowed local teams to begin interviews earlier than ever, with more than 500 interviews for 2024 positions already complete. 

People who are interested in learning more about becoming a BC Wildfire Service crew member may apply until March 31, 2024, and are encouraged to indicate their first, second, and third choice of work location. 

For more information, visit: https://gov.bc.ca/WildfireFighters   

 

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