Forest Firefighting Courses Trying To Meet Demand

Thursday, July 06, 2006 at 14:32



Saskatchewan Environment Minister John Nilson wishes fire crews had more equipment at their disposal.


Among other things, Nilson says his department could do with more more aircraft, as well as manpower.


Government officials say they’re training about 30 firefighters every two days, but still need more.


Presently there are 980 firefighters working in the northern forest — that is 80 more than they had yesterday.


Saskatchewan Environment spokesman Steve Roberts says they are doing everything they can to get more firefighters on the fire line, but he says the department is not about to compromise training standards in the process.


Those interested in taking the training first have to pass a fitness test before taking a 40-hour course. The course normally takes five days, but Roberts says they are trying to compress that training into three or four days whenever possible.


Meanwhile, two water skimming aircraft have just arrived from the Northwest Territories — that brings the total number of air tankers working in the province to 16.