Northern Heat

(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.

Conference Information

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.

Students work on hosing down an engineered training structure during a live fire exercise at the Northern Heat conference on May 4, 2016.
Students work on hosing down an engineered training structure during a live fire exercise at the Northern Heat conference on May 4, 2016.

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.

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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.

If you have questions please contact feedback@peaceriver.ca additional details regarding the conference are available online