Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Volunteer back home after fighting wildfires in Canada

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A volunteer firefighter, who attended both the 2019 Yanchep and 2021 Red Gully bushfires, has returned from fighting wildfires in Canada.

Gingin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service captain Nikki Woods said fighting wildfires in Alberta, Canada was completely different to fighting bushfires back home.

“The only way to access the fire ground was by helicopters or Haglands (ex-military tracked machines),’’ she said.

“(With) no fire trucks, some days we laid 5km of hose from lake systems to get water to where we were working.

“Helicopters were also used to drop buckets of water.

“We had hand tools (shovels and pulaskis) to stop hotspots spreading.

“We had over 80mm of rain over three days and the fire continued to burn, if we got that much rain on a fire here it would be out.’’

A pulaskis is a tool that combines an axe and a hoe so firefighters can chop or dig with a flip of the wrist.

While in Alberta Mrs Woods, who has been the Gingin captain for 11 years, was based at Kimiwan camp where they slept in tents the whole time they were there.

Along with Mrs Woods, Lancelin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service captain Tom Kusters, deputy chief bushfire control officer and Gingin West Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade captain James Morton and Shires of Gingin, Dandaragan and Victoria Plains bushfire risk mitigation coordinator Evan Lawrence left Perth for Canada on July 13.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said Mrs Woods was deployed to Alberta for more than a month.

Mrs Woods is one of 12 people to nominate for six vacant positions at the Gingin council in the upcoming local government elections on Saturday, October 21.

This article appeared on Yanchep News Online on 2 October 2023.


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