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HomeNewsFirefighters train with Structural Protection Unit in Prince George

Firefighters train with Structural Protection Unit in Prince George

Fire fighters from around the country converged on the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club on Sunday to train with structural protection units.

The training was part of the ongoing Wildfire Resiliency and Training Summit in Prince George.

Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston in Prince George (D. Bain, My PG Now staff)

“The BC Wildfire Service has a pretty thorough series of training sessions,” said BC Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston.

“This one is one I think is particularly important just because of the increasing importance of fighting at the interface between the wildland and suburban communities, protecting businesses, homes, and citizens, is increasingly part of what happened, that was certainly the case last season, and the expectation is we want to be prepared for that should it happen this season.”

Firefighters worked on putting up sprinklers around buildings, water is then pumped to the sprinklers, and it creates a “humidity bubble,” which douses firebrands, such as embers, before they have a chance to ignite.

“The misconception is people see wildfires and they associate big flames with a lot of mass destruction,” said Kevin Delgarno, a Structural Protection Specialist with the BC Wildfire Service.

“Really it’s the big flames that are emanating a lot of embers, so it’s the trees and all the fuels within them that are floating up and being casted up, and they’re still on fire, and those embers are landing, and they’re landing in and around structures.”

Sprinkler mounted on a 2×4 (D. Bain, My PG Now staff)

He added it’s not the houses that are catching fire initially.

“The reasons they’re burning down is the patio furniture, it’s the welcome mat, it’s the broom leaning up against the side of the house, it’s the uncut tall dead grass laying next to a structure that creeping ground fires can move into and once they’re burning next to the structure, they can catch that structure on fire.”

In November, Miracle Theatre announced the proceeds from their production of “A Comedy of Tenors” would go towards purchasing one of these units, with a goal of raising $180,000.

Structural Protection Unit Trailer (D. Bain, My PG Now staff)

A final total for the amount of money through the run of shows raised hasn’t been announced yet.

“Anything that we can have to add will benefit the department for sure,” said Prince George Fire Rescue Chief Cliff Warner.

“The [BC Wildfire Service] have larger trailers than this, in previous years, it wasn’t as big a priority because they were available, however in the last few years, those trailers have been deployed to other areas in the province, so that work with them is identifying where those risks and hazards are, and we’ve put a focus on ensuring the city has one.”

In addition to the unit to be purchased by Miracle Theatre, Warner said the City is applying for a grant to purchase a second Structural Protection Unit for the City.

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