A BC Wildfire Services crew dangles from a hovering helicopter during a training exercise held at Qualicum Beach Airport on April 3. — Michael Briones photo

Vancouver Island hosts training exercise ahead of coming wildfire season

Firefighters practise entering and exiting a hovering helicopter

Members of the BC Wildfire Service engaged in a helicopter hover-exit exercise at Qualicum Beach Airport on Wednesday, April 3.

The session was a training certfication exercise, conducted every year in preparation for the coming fire season. It involves members learing to enter and exit a helicopter as it hovers above the ground.

“We do this every year to recertify for the helicopter operations we need to do on wildfires,” said TJ Hamre, a forest firefighter for eight years and one of the program trainers.

READ MORE: B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

READ MORE: Crews fighting 250-hectare wildfire near Kamloops

Hamre said those involved are all excited to resume training and assist new recruits.

Last year was the worst fire season on record in British Columbia. Between April 2018 and March 2019 there were 2,112 wildfires, torching 1.3 million hectares of land. Roughly 40 per cent of fires are human-caused each year.

Hamre said the hovering exit training exercise is important as it is always the last resort to get to a remote location when there’s no other option for any sort of landing.

Before the crews and new recruits did the actual exercise, they went through a thorough briefing and held mock entrances and exits.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Just Posted

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Take your opportunity to sing at the Royal Theatre

Great Canadian Sing debuts Sept. 8 with inspirational music, talented performers, singalong format

PHOTOS: Inside the opening of the expanded Westhills Stadium

The grand opening of the expanded stadium in Langford is on schedule for Aug. 24

Victoria’s Other Secret not so secret anymore

How six Mount Doug teachers turned a lunch jam into $11,000 raised for charity

Award-nominated Snotty Nose Rez Kids headline Indigifest 2019 coming to Victoria

Scheduled for Aug. 24, the event is a showcase of Indigenous musicians from around B.C.

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Most Read