Recruits sought for wildfire service

The BC Wildfire Service is looking for recruits to add to its team in 2016 in preparation for the summer ahead.

Kevin Skrepnek with the service says more than 1,000 seasonal firefighters join them every year and they’re looking to add more to the team.

“We typically see about a 20 per cent turnover rate, year to year. We are looking to fill about 200 spots for the 2016 season. That process is ongoing right now. Applications are being accepted until January 24th.”

Skrepnek says successful candidates become part of something important.

“These are folks who would be direct government employees. They would have seasonal positions with us. They can be deployed anywhere in the province and potentially out of BC, as well.”

About 1,500 applications were received by the Jan. 24 deadline. The number is above average, exceeding applications received in 2015.

But Skrepnek notes submissions usually climb in the year following a busy fire season.

More than 1,800 blazes were recorded during what the Wildfire Service calls a “major” season in 2015, with homes lost in Rock Creek, Oliver and Puntzi Lake, while total fire fighting costs topped $282-million.

Successful 2016 Wildfire Service applicants must first survive a rigorous interview and screening process before being invited to boot camps slated for Merritt in April and May.

For more information about being a member of the B.C. Wildfire Service team, visit bcwildfire.ca/employment/firefighter/details.htm

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