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9TuesdayAugust122014NewreghtersstepintohelpwithNWTblazesByMEAGANWOHLBERGForestsarenottheonlyNWTresourceatextremeriskofburningoutthissum-merwhichhasseencloseto3millionhectaresgoupinsmokesinceJune.Afterghtingoneoftheworstreseasonsinrecenthistorysometimes16hoursadayformorethantwoweeksrecrewsacrosstheterritoryareexhaustedandlookingforfreshlegstoreplacethem.LuckilydozensofablebodieshavejumpedintotakesomeofthepressureoffbysigningupforemergencyfirefighterEFFtrainingwiththedepartmentofEn-vironmentandNaturalRe-sourcesENRwhichbeganlastweekintheSouthSlaveandiscarryingonthisweekintheNorthSlaveaswell.IknowthattheyneedthehelpsaidChrisBrasswhoisfromWinnipegbuthasbeenlivinginNormanWellsforsevenyears.Nineteendaysontwodaysoff-thecrewsdontreallygettoomuchrest.Brass25wasoneinagroupof40individualsfromacrosstheNWTwhoewdowntoFortSmithforthreedaysofintenseEFFtrainingovertheweekend.Areghterwithsixyearsofexperience-includingascrewboss-Brasshadtakenthesummerofftoworkinconstructionbuthadamonthfreeandknewhisskillscouldbeputtogooduse.Ihaveexperiencewiththejobanditstheve-yearpeakeveryveyearsitgetsrealdryandhotintheNWTbutitstheworstyearIveseenandIverunacrewforveorsixyearsnow.Weneverhadthismanyreshesaidaddingthatinacouplemoreyearsofreghtinghemightgotoschooltobecomearetechnician.Brasswaspartofthesec-ondgrouptojumpatENRsrecentcalloutforEFFswithanothergroupof14fromFortSmithalreadydeployedtoFortResolutionafterdoingtheirtraininglastweek.Around60othersfromtheNorthSlaveregionaredoingtheirowntrainingthisweekinYellowknifewhileanothergroupfromHayRiverFortResolutionandFortSmitharemeetingintheSouthSlavetogetonboardinthenextfewdays.FrankTseleieJr.35wasalsopartoftheweekendtraining.HesaidithadbeenadecadesincehefoughtreintheSahtubuttheintensereseasonandalackofem-ploymentopportunitiesinhishomecommunityofFortGoodHopebroughthimdowntoSmithforthersttimetogetupdatedonhistraining.Idecidedtojoininthisyearbecauseitsoundslikeitsprettybadhesaid.Theymustbetired-16hourdays.ItstheworstyearIthink.Thissummerhasbeenwidelyregardedbyforestryofcialsastheworstinthelastseveraldecades.Over300resareburningthroughoutthesouthernhalfoftheNWTanddespitesomerainandcoolertemperatureslastweekextremedroughthaskepttheriskofmorestartshigh.Whilethedepartmentcanusuallygetawaywithrun-ningonetrainingprograminJunetheintenseresea-son-anticipatedtorununtilSeptember-spurredENRtoorganizeanotherrecruitmentefforttoensuretheyarewellstaffed.SomecrewshavebeenonressincelateMaysoitsalongperiodforpeoplesaidFrankLepineassociatedi-rectorofforestmanagementwithENR.WhilethetrainingthatEFFsreceiveisnotasintenseasthatgiventotheinitialattackcrewsworkingoncontrollingthemassiveblazestheirtrain-ingwillallowthemtohelprelievecrewsofthemop-updutiesaroundcontrolledressoinitialattackcanfocusonprotectingvaluesatrisklikehighwaystownsandcabins.Itsbasicwildlandre-ghtingENRtrainingofcerJasonCurriesaidofthena-tionaltrainingcourseofferedtheEFFs.Weteachthemtheskillstoghtreandtheba-sicsofsafety.Thoughitmaynotbethemostglamouroussideofre-ghtingmoppingupissomeofthemostimportantasitensureshotspotsareputoutsotheydontspread.Mop-upis80percentofghtingreandwererun-ningoutofpeople.Wecantcompromiseourinitialattackcapabilitiessowecanhiretheseguystodothemop-upsaidENRforestofcerBrentStarlingwhoinstructedthecoursealongwithSahturetechnicianShawnMaxwellforestofcerErnieFrancisofInuvikandBrianDragonaveteranfirefighterfromFortSmith.Theresalotofextensivemop-uptobedoneonalotoftheseresbecausetheyreallinthegroundCurrieadded.Theyrenotliketheywerethreeweeksago-bigcrowningres.Theweatheractuallystoppedtheseresfromdoingthat.Butwestillhavetodealwiththembe-causetheyreallburninginthegroundjustwaitingfortheforesttodryoutsotheycangoforanotherrun.Sowehavetotrytocontainthemwhenwecan.Thosetakingthetrainingcomefromavarietyofback-groundssomewithoutanyexperienceandotherswithmanyyearsworth.Apartfromlearningthebasicsaboutforestfuelsandrebehav-iourEFFsaregivenextensivetrainingonsafetyandusingequipmentinbothclassroomandpracticalsettings.Atpresenttherearearound100EFFsonstrengthineveryregionacrosstheNWTalongwith28ve-personinitialattackcrews.Otherjuris-dictionsarealsoprovidingrecrewstoassistintheef-fortswith120reghtersfromOntarioSaskatchewanManitobaYukonandAlaskaandtwoincidentmanagementteamsfromOntario.EnvironmentWildresPhotosMeaganWohlbergEmergencyreghtersintrainingtaketurnsusingthehosetoputouthotspotsofreburningintheground.Thecrewof40shippedouttodomop-upworkthisweek.InstructorswithENRshowthenewEFFsthesafeandcorrectwaytosetupandusethewaterpump.EFFcrewslayhosealongtheboatlaunchnearFortSmithtopracticeusingthepumpsandotherreghtingequipment.ForestofcerErnieFrancisofInuvikassistsanewrecruitinusingthestranglerwhichcutsoffwaterandallowsanewsectionofhosetobeconnected.