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Hundreds of firefighters coming to North Van for wildfire training

Get ready for some action, as the training exercise will see firefighters responding as if a real wildfire was threatening North Vancouver
BC Wildfire crews extinguish a simulated fire in the North Vancouver backcountry, May 2019. | Mike Wakefield / North Shore News files

As wildfire season descends on B.C., hundreds of firefighters are descending on North Vancouver to sharpen their skills.

Residents from Grousewoods to Woodlands will see a heavy presence of out-of-town fire trucks and crews May 10-14 for the first ever Wildfire Resiliency and Training Summit – five days of training that addresses both wildfire prevention and tactics in responding.

More than 80 community members who live near the forest interface have volunteered their properties for the weekend to allow crews to simulate everything from a “check-and-go” to running hoses through backyards.

“They will be responding to these areas as they would if we had a wildfire coming into the community,” said District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services chief Brian Hutchinson. “We’ve got professionals across the full scope coming together.”

Most of visible activity will be happening on Saturday and Sunday, however Capilano University is providing classroom space through the week, Hutchinson said.

Because of its forest interface, the district has hosted wildfire simulation training before, but this is the first time a major conference combining preparedness and response has happened at the same time.

“We’ve got trucks and personnel from Smithers to Ladysmith on Vancouver Island to Peachland in the Interior. It’s the full gamut,” Hutchinson said, adding there are 91 fire departments represented in the training. “It’s honestly an honour for us in the district to be able to host this inaugural conference.”

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