letter

Addressing negativity towards fire fighting efforts

Editor:

I am from the Boothroyd Indian Band of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, Lytton B.C. I work for the BCWS as a Wild Fire Technician and an Operation Chief on an Incident Management Team. My chief is Michael Campbell. I am also a councillor for my Band.

I am writing this post to address a lot of the negativity that it’s is out there towards the fire fighting efforts that are taking place in the province.. I wanted to enlighten you all of the feeling that I have had personally and how they have impacted me. We as fire fighters feel these emotions on a certain level.

I have high anxiety due to overwhelming stress, a feeling of helplessness due to extreme fire behaviour, a feeling of underachievement with public’s reactions, and I feel sadness and grief for the loss of homes, evac alerts and orders.

I feel like our losses out weigh our wins because of public perception. I suffer from PTSD and continue to fight the good fight even when our decisions are always questioned.

However, I feel absolute gratitude and pride to be working along side the many men and woman within BCWS,RCMP,Military,VFD,EMBC, Industry and our out of country/province friends that are helping us. I can’t for get the many volunteers that dedicate them selves to assist evacuees and others in need.

I think our crews and the folks that are working these fire deserve nothing but praise, gratitude and public support.. please remember each and everyone of these folks are someone’s son, daughter, grandchild, mom, dad cousin uncle aunt etc. who are putting their lives on the line each and everyday working 14-16 hrs daily.. I am not going to lie but some of the comments that are made are very hurtful and demoralizing to our crews and myself..

To all my brothers and sisters that are fighting the good fight, you are appreciated, I am so proud of each and everyone of you.. be safe and take care I will see you out there.. God Bless ..

Though many have issues with the overall wildfire management within BC but lets not take that out on the brave men and women who are the front lines. Perhaps we should take a moment and recognize all those folks on this week’s call.

George Cambell

Wild Fire Technician and an Operation Chief

Boothroyd Indian Band of the Nlaka’pamux Nation, Lytton B.C.