BC firefighters have largely avoided serious injury this fire season

Avoiding serious injuries

While a number of BC Wildfire Service firefighters have been injured on the job this year, the agency says they've managed to largely avoid any serious “life-altering injuries” so far.

A firefighter working on the White Rock Lake fire took a tumble down a 100-foot slope Thursday. While the firefighter was airlifted from the area to Kelowna General Hospital with suspected “serious injuries," the firefighter did not suffer any “substantial injuries” according to the BCWS.

During a press conference Thursday, BCWS fire operations manager Todd Nessman said despite “some close calls” during a particularly challenging fire season, firefighters have remained relatively safe.

“The hazards are out there, but we've been very fortunate. We have had some close calls but we haven't had any of what I would categorize as significant, life-altering injuries with our staff,” Nessman said.

“We have had quite a few of the smaller varieties. Anytime you have 3,500 people out working, accidents, incidents will occur. We're fortunate that they haven't been of the serious nature and staff have been managing the season quite well.”

Nessman noted the dangerous nature of the profession, pointing to the death of an Oregon wildland firefighter earlier this week. The 56-year-old died when a falling tree landed on him.

Last month, Merritt firefighter Dylan Bullock suffered serious burns while fighting the Sparks Lake wildfire. While Nessman had no recent updates on Bullock's condition, he said the firefighter continues to undergo treatment and rehabilitation.

An update from Aug. 9 on a GoFundMe page for Bullock says he had gone through a second skin graft surgery in Vancouver. Close to $50,000 has been raised to help with Bullock's recovery.

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