Cariboo Initial Fire Attack crew leader Kassidy Herrick shows Mattias, a student at Alexis Creek Elementary/Junior Secondary School, some of the ways a GPS is used in forest firefighting during a navigation and communications exercise. (Photo submitted)

Cariboo Initial Fire Attack crew leader Kassidy Herrick shows Mattias, a student at Alexis Creek Elementary/Junior Secondary School, some of the ways a GPS is used in forest firefighting during a navigation and communications exercise. (Photo submitted)

Alexis Creek junior high school students get schooled on forest firefighting

Cariboo Fire Centre staff show students in Alexis Creek some of the basics to pique their interest

Staff from the Cariboo Fire Centre went to the Alexis Creek School twice in June to teach 12 students in Grades 8-10 about being a forest firefighter.

The morning of June 13 was spent going over basic forest firefighting concepts and discussing the BC Wildfire Service Junior Firefighter Program, which students can take when attending high school in Williams Lake.

In the afternoon the students were taken outside and shown some of the basic equipment, as well as when each piece of equipment would be used and why.

The students were also able to help set up a Mark 3 water pump, take apart a chainsaw, and dissect an initial attack truck used in firefighting.

They were also able to watch a drip torch demonstration, which is a tool firefighters use to light fires during burn off or fuel management operations, and discuss pump set up scenarios for fighting a wildfire.

The second day of the “Jr Jr” program on June 22, students were brought to the Chilcotin Fire Zone for a base tour in the morning.

Afterwards, they participated in a communication and navigation exercise.

Led by Cariboo Initial Fire Attack Crew members, students used handheld GPSs to find a geographic location in Alexis Creek with an initial fire report that they could then communicate to Chilcotin Fire Zone staff using a radio.

They then could use new coordinates to find the location of a “fire” where they rejoined the group.

In the afternoon, students were engaged in fun activities including team building games, a water/pump/hose activity and a water balloon fight.

Cariboo Fire Centre members were then invited to play a traditional game of Lahal with students.

The goal of the Jr Jr Program was to provide information and build relationships to create interest in firefighting and the BC Wildfire Service.

The hope is for students to then have the interest and information to access the BC Wildfire Service Junior Firefighter Program when they transition to high school in Williams Lake.

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