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Vancouver Island firefighters training this weekend to battle wildfires

Fourteen Vancouver Island fire departments are training in wildfire-fighting methods this weekend in North Cowichan, so they’re ready for forest-fire season.

Fourteen Vancouver Island fire departments are training in wildfire-fighting methods this weekend in North Cowichan, so they’re ready for forest-fire season.

Called the engine boss leader course, it was developed so municipal fire departments could meet B.C. Wildfire Service training requirements for fighting wildfires.

The course aims to mimic many of the conditions, requirements and procedures that come up during real fires near urban areas.

That type of area is referred to as the woodland urban interface, where built-up areas border on or are amongst nature areas.

The North Cowichan Fire Department is hosting the session. Mayor Al Siebring said residents may notice an increase in fire-truck activity in the community on Sunday, especially near Carmel Drive and Moya Road, off Gibbins Road, and near Fuller Lake in Chemainus.

Crews will also be using staging areas including Queen Margaret’s School, the parking lot next to Vancouver Island University and Fuller Lake Arena.

“This training is key, for both our community, which is surrounded by forests, and our firefighters, who will benefit immensely from this on-the-ground training,” Siebring said.

COVID-19 protocols will be in place during training.