BC blazes cool and army reservists head back to their day jobs

Every soldier on the fire lines volunteered to come

High school teachers, business owners, paramedics, students – they are people from all walks of life.

Also, they are soldiers.

The 150 army personnel who occupied a camp in Princeton this week – assigned to back up BC Wildfire Service and provide mop up for the Cool Creek fire – are reservists.

And they volunteered to come.

“They give up their jobs. They go away from their families. Some of them, they use their holiday pay to go help out,” said spokesman Graeme Kaine. “It sounds hokey, but there are still a lot of people that just want to help.”

Related: Military marches into Princeton BC and lends hand to firefighters

There are approximately 1,500 army reserve members in British Columbia, making up one of three Western Canada brigades, explained Kaine.

When the provincial government made its official request for assistance a call was put out to all members, and they travelled from as a far away as Thunder Bay, Ontario to respond.

They got here by bus, some of them spending two days on the road.

“I think it’s just great when all these people across Western Canada come to support us, as we would do for them,” said Kaine.

Reservists take the same basic training as regular forces, and they are paid. They are required to work at least one day a week, and one weekend a month, and they can choose to accept or decline deployment.

According to Kaine the reserve units offer a unique compliment to the regular service, as they are populated by men and women with varied and often non-military backgrounds.

Major Vincent Virk was the Officer Commanding [OC] of the Princeton camp, which was named Camp Allison after a soldier from Princeton’s founding family who died in the First World War.

Virk is from North Vancouver and Osoyoos, where he owns a business. He has been in the service for 16 years. “I do this just because I wanted to do something for my country, and to give back a little,” he told The Spotlight. ” I wanted to do it and I just love it, and I love the people I’m working with. We always love a challenge.”

Private Bennett, from North Saskatchewan, had just finished his basic training when he learned of the request for assistance.

“As soon as my sergeant asked me I immediately said yes, along with two fellow reservists from my unit. We’ve just been having a great time out here helping the people of British Columbia.”

At least two of the army boots on the ground fighting fires in the past week were very familiar with the terrain.

Sabrina Boechler is a full-time paramedic in Vancouver, who started her career in Princeton and lived here for two years.

“It’s really nice to get back to the community I started in and help them out.”

While Camp Allison was expected to run for two to three weeks, after just eight days BC Wildfire had situations enough under control so that the reservists could go back to their day jobs.

“Everyone back at work Monday morning,” said Kaine.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Canadian Coast Guard breaks ground on permanent search and rescue station in Victoria

Victoria-based SAR will do all rescues in local harbour and parts of the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Police actions under investigation following Langford arrest

IIO investigates officer-related incidents that result in serious harm

Victoria woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

Victoria council looks to self-impose carbon tax on staff airfare

A new carbon pricing fee would put additional funds into the city’s Climate Action Reserve

Gas stations could push to 167.9 cents a litre this week

Analyst says high prices are due to supply and demand

WATCH: Cougar saunters through Metchosin yard

Spring cougar sighting caught on camera

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Island Cup set for East Sooke on May 3-5

Off-road racing event expected to attract over 50 racers

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read