British Columbia

Firefighters wanted: B.C. government looking to recruit support crews

The B.C. government is looking to hire fire crews on contract, as it has already lined up its core team of firefighters.

Known as 'type 2,' these fire crews are on contract and are hired to provide additional support

A Coastal Fire Centre crew leader views the Boulder Creek fire, July 3, 2015. The province is now looking to recruit support fire crews to assist with battling wildfires. (BC Wildfire Service)

The B.C. government is looking to hire contract fire crews — known as 'type 2 crews' — to support its core team of firefighters. 

"These contracts can come in an excellent second capacity to take the strain off of our own crews in the later phases of the fire which can take some time," said Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.'s chief fire information officer. 

Each year, the province directly employs roughly a thousand firefighters who undergo a rigorous recruitment process the year before.

These government firefighters carry out the initial attack to contain fires and prevent them from growing, but then have to move on to battle other fires. 

A group of B.C. Wildfire Service recruits march in single file during training exercises. The government employed firefighters go through a recruitment process the year before. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

That is where the 'type 2' or contract fire crews move in to support the work by 'mopping up' and ensuring the fire is fully extinguished.

Typically these crews work for forest companies and are called upon when their services are needed. 

The province already has an agreement with 52 companies to provide roughly 1,500 bodies to assist with fires. 

With the early start to the fire season the province has already called in 300 type 2 crews, said Skrepnek. 

Kevin Skrepnek is the chief information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Service. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

With files from the CBC's On The Island.

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: B.C. government looking to recruit support crews