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

Alberni drag racers travel to Port McNeill for event on airport runway

More than 20 drag racers from the Alberni Valley travelled to Port… Continue reading

Learn the art of songwriting with musician John Pippus

Writing workshop, performance at Words on Fire highlight a trip to Alberni

Descend to the depths of diving history in Port Alberni

New exhibit opens at Maritime Discovery Centre

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island teen with viral video headlining first concert

Lauren Spencer-Smith, formerly of Port Alberni, has been recording new songs

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Victoria’s Outset Media and Walmart Canada partner on local edition of popular game

Most Read