(Above: High Level Fire Chief and Peace Regional Fire Chief Association president Rodney Schmidt, speaks to attendees at the Northern Heat conference, early in the morning on May 4 about the situation in Wood Buffalo)
Statement from Peace Regional Fire Chiefs conference on the Wood Buffalo Wildfires
May 4, 2016
On Behalf of the Peace Regional Fire Chiefs (PRFC), the conference attendees, and all the agencies represented here today, I want to say that the residents of Fort McMurray and all the emergency responders combating the wildfires in Wood Buffalo are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Fire Chiefs here at PRFC are meeting regularly throughout each day to stay abreast of the developments in Fort McMurray.
A plan to release resources from our conference for deployment in Wood Buffalo is in place, in the event we are called upon to lend aid.
No resources from our region have been deployed yet nor has there been a request from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency for resources from the Northwest.
The value and importance of our training is underscored by the events taking place in the east. There is not a single firefighter attending this conference that does not want to pack their bags and go to help, however, the situation in Wood Buffalo is just beginning, it will be a long road and many resources will be required.
For now we stand at the ready, we stand with our brothers in sisters in Wood Buffalo during this dark time.
How you can help
The Red Cross Society of Canada has a fund setup and is assisting with reuniting families and other critical work. You can find out ways to donate through their website.
The Peace Regional Fire Chiefs conference brings together firefighters from many municipalities in Alberta’s Northwest for critical annual training. During the first two days, crews work on engineered structures in live fire exercises.During the final half of the conference classroom lectures on theory and best practices are discussed and taught. This conference, now in it’s 17th year, routinely attracts departments from across Alberta due to the quality of the training and the facility. As well instructors from across North America bring their expertise.
This year there are approximately 120 conference attendees, with almost 60 taking part in the live training.
This year we’re pleased to welcome students and delegates from the following departments:
Beaverlodge Fire Department
Berwyn Fire Department
Central Peace Fire & Rescue Commission
Dixonville Fire Dept
Enilda Fire Department
Joussard Fire Department
County of Grande Prairie Fire Services
Fairview Fire Department
Fort Vermilion Fire Department
Fox Creek Fire Department
Grande Cache Fire Department
Grande Prairie Fire Department
High Level Fire Department
High Prairie Fire Department
Hinton Fire Department
Hythe Fire Department
Station 5 – Lac Ste. Anne County Fire Services
Loon River Fire Dept
MD of Greenview
Debolt Fire & Rescue
MD of Opportunity NO 17
MD of Smoky River
MD of Spirit River
Nampa Fire Department
Northern Sunrise County
Peace River Fire Dept
Peace River Regional District
Peerless Trout First Nation Fire Dept.
Red Earth Creek Fire Department
Sandy Lake Fire Department
Saddle Hills County
Sexsmith Fire Dept
St.Isidore / Three Creeks Fire Dept
Sylvan Lake Fire Department
Valleyview Fire Department
Wabasca Fire Department
Weberville Fire Dept
Wembley Fire Department
Whitecourt Fire Department
Fore more information on the Peace Regional Fire Chiefs Conference, Northern Heat, visit the website.
Update from May 3, 2016 at 18:45
Earlier today the Peace River Fire Department determined that conditions would permit them to continue with a multi agency live fire training on May 4 and 5.
Given the news and the concerns around wildfires in the area it is important for residents to be aware that there will be no burning of wild land, and no hazard reduction burns.
The only fire will be in a carefully controlled training facility under the supervision of more than 100 firefighters and apparatus. Several safety officers will be constantly monitoring conditions and if conditions at that time do not permit then they will call a stop.
Where’s there’s smoke there’s..
A gathering of fire chiefs and firefighters from across Alberta’s northwest for the annual Northern Heat Conference, taking place Wednesday May 4 to Saturday May 7 in Peace River.
This annual event affords northern fire officials the chance to get together to network and learn from each other. One of the cornerstones of the conference is the live fire training which takes place at the Peace River Fire Department training yard on the West Hill.
This training involves live fire training, which will produce smoke. Given the extreme wildfire hazard in the region we would like to stress that this training is taking place under the strictest of controls. Currently Peace River has some restrictions on fire within the municipality but not a ban. While residents may notice that burning is occurring on the west hill, it is not a wildfire. The fire training will take place during the day on May 4 and May 5.