Penticton's wildfire symposium firing up interest in its third year - InfoNews

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Penticton's wildfire symposium firing up interest in its third year

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January 25, 2020 - 8:00 AM

Wildfire training is a hot topic these days. A fact not lost on the Penticton Fire Department, that is finding there is more interest than space available for a wildfire symposium the department has been offering in conjunction with the B.C. Wildfire Service for the past three years.

Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson says there are a few more details to be worked out regarding this year’s symposium, which is scheduled for May 1 to 3 in Penticton, but this year’s event is already full, with a wait list of 50.

“It’s nice to see such interest and support. B.C. Wildfire is a big partner,” Watkinson says, adding the City of Penticton has been very supportive of his efforts to organize the symposium.

The event is geared to wildfire firefighters and municipal departments who want to be better prepared for the wildfire season.

Watkinson says guest speakers and trainers are coming with “some pretty solid experience,” including wildfire fighters from California and possibly Australia to talk about the differences and similarities involved in fighting wildland fires in California, Australia and British Columbia.

Watkinson says the symposium has gained a lot of support at provincial levels. He’s been asked to be curriculum trainer for provincially standardized training for municipal structural firefighters.

“They saw what we were delivering was at par or better than what other agencies were doing, and it’s a service the city gets paid for,” Watkinson says.

He says it’s an idea he knew was needed for years, but required time to organize.

“It’s something that helps everyone in the province,” he says.

The symposium schedule includes workshops and a number of training sessions including wildfire operations, leadership and technical training.

Other sessions involve wildfire supervisor training, training the trainer, structure protections base manager training and an introduction to wildland fire behaviour.


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