Day 6

What's it like to fight a fire? Stories from the frontlines

Hundreds of wildfires are burning across Western Canada with fire crews travelling from across the country to fight the flames. In this studio doc, hear Canadian fire fighters describe the physical and psychological experience of battling wildfires.
A Coastal Fire Centre crew leader views the Boulder Creek fire, July 3, 2015. (REUTERS/BC Wildfire Service) (BC Wildfire Service/Reuters)

Hundreds of wildfires are currently burning in Saskatchewan, not to mention the flames engulfing the forests of B.C., Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Fire crews from across the country have been called in, along with nearly 1,000 members of the Canadian Armed forces. Cities are issuing air advisory warnings and telling residents to stay inside. Smoky skies have been reported as far away as Toronto. And Saskatchewan is facing its largest evacuation in history. But it's one thing to flee a fire... What's it like for the fire fighters who head right into the flames?

We know that it's risky what we're doing, we know there's the potential for something to go wrong.-Fire fighter Kimberly Thompson

In this studio documentary, entitled "Is That Our Call?", Day 6 producer Mieke Anderson asks Canadian fire fighters to describe the physical and psychological experience of battling forest fires. Fire crew leader Charles Ingleton describes being on the frontlines at Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories. Vancouver Island's Kimberly Thompson talks body odour and the stress of being on-call. And retired Kamloops fire fighter Doug Richardson reflects on the heat, the blisters, and the loss of a comrade.