December 18th, 2018

Fire prevention always at top of mind out in the field

By Peggy Revell on May 17, 2018.

NEWS PHOTO PEGGY REVELL
British soldiers quickly work to put out a grass fire started the afternoon of Wednesday, May 16, 2018, during a live fire exercise.


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With the devastation caused in 2017 by grassfires in Southern Alberta, British Army Training Unit Suffield said they’re prepared as thousands of troops participate in training exercises this year.

“By the nature of what we do here, inevitably there will be … risk of fire,” said Major Alex Mills, in charge of training operations for BATUS at CFB Suffield.

There’s an added emphasis to fighting fires this year, said Mills, in response to the number of fires last year — including one started by a Canadian UOD (Unexploded Ordinance Disposal) team that jumped the north boundary.

All those who come to the base to help deliver the training conduct a two-day firefighting course, said Mills, and use equipment to put out fires as soon as possible.

“All of us are trained to put out fire,” said BATUS commander Col. Marcus Evans, about himself and 400 colleagues.

“We’re very aware of the impact we have on our neighbours,” he said, saying the base has “good friends” amongst the ranching, business, and civilian community which they really appreciate.

“If fires get towards the boundaries of the range, we’ll apply every resource we have to make sure the fire doesn’t jump those boundaries.”

“I’m really confident in the team we’ve got here, and we will when we can intervene to stop fires. We’re guests to the prairies here … we want that relationship to continue,” said Mills.

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