Wildfire group training First Nations and Métis firefighters after 4-year hiatus – Lethbridge | The Canadian News

It’s been a long time for CCI Wildfire Services.

The company trains First Nations and Métis firefighters and Friday marked the fifth and final day of the firefighter course for its latest class of recruits, the first in four years for the program.

Despite the hiatus, interest remains high and trainees like Duke Plain Eagle are enjoying the process.

“It’s pretty good,” Plain Eagle said. “It’s a pretty good experience, especially in the snow.”

Trainees are given hands-on work and put to the test on everything from pump operation to fire behavior – everything the Braydon Big Sorrel Horse will need to know to fight wildfires.

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“You’re going to be out there and you have to,” Big Sorrel Horse said.

“There are no mistakes, you cannot make mistakes because a fire is coming. You have to learn to light the pump to be able to bring water to the fire. “

“As soon as the weather changes … they’re ready to go from here to a crew,” said instructor Bryan McNallie. “They are going to learn every day, we teach them the basics.”

Currently, CCI is contracted by Alberta Forestry and has an eight-man base crew, made up mostly of First Nations and Métis members who fight fires throughout the province.

McNallie has taught several courses for CCI and now sees his students on the front lines.

“I see guys who are team leaders now and they come up to me and say ‘hey, you taught me eight years ago’ and it makes me feel good to see that kind of thing,” McNallie said. “There are sure to be some good ones here.”

With the show wrapping up its final session, the chimney trainees are already looking to the future, hoping to join the fires fighting in Alberta.

“(I want) to work next summer during wildfire season hopefully,” Big Sorrel Horse said. “It’s a fun job. They say they could hire some people for the winter, so I hope I can move on. “

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“Maybe make a run and move up the ladder,” said trainee Kolby Bastien.

CCI is planning another course in spring 2022.

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