The Morin Lake Fire Department took third place at a recent Indigenous firefighters’ competition.

The fire department also learned it had won the regional category of the Aboriginal Firefighters’ Association of Canada National Competition on Aug. 7.

This is the first time a Lac La Ronge Indian Band fire department has achieved this particular recognition.

Deputy Fire Chief Leonard Halkett said the team is excited with the third-place finish but also for winning the Saskatchewan regional category for the first time.

“We’re still feeling pretty great about (that),” he said. “It’s the first time any team (from the LLRIB) made it past regionals.”

Halkett added community members are happy about the win as well.

“They’re telling us that they’re proud of us and have been congratulating us.”

With the wins comes two cash prizes.

The team will receive $5,000 for the third-place finish and another $4,500 for the regional accomplishment.

The Deputy Fire Chief said the department will be entering the national competition again next year which will start with a rigorous training schedule in the spring.

“We usually start training for the competition as soon as the snow melts, and we go five times a week,” Halkett said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was held virtually this year.

Halkett said because of this, the fire department was required to send video of the team performing specific challenges.

They also had to send in a fire safety video.

The Maskwacis Fire Department from Maskwacis, Alberta, about 100 km south of Edmonton, won first place at the national competition which comes with prize money of $10,000.

(PHOTO: Courtesy Morin Lake Fire Department.)