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

Forest fire 1.5 km from Sara Lake listed as out of control

While the fire is classified as out of control, they expect it to be under control imminently.

Port Hardy casting call

This is a paid gig $400 per person for the day.

62.5 pounder caught off north of Port Hardy

“It was a team effort to land this 62.5 lb fish”

20th annual OrcaFest takes over Port McNeill

Check out the North Island Gazette’s OrcaFest photo gallery!

Oh Yeah takes a bite out of Woodchuckers at OrcaFest slo-pitch tournament in Port McNeill

Oh Yeah defeated the Woodchuckers 21-10 after seven innings.

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

Vancouver Island rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Qualicum Beach school and difficult to remove

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Most Read