As another record-breaking devastating Wildfire season in BC is hopefully winding down for another year, I’d like to introduce you to one of the heroes on the fire front. His name is Dylan Paterson, who lives in North Vancouver, but spent the summer in this region, battling the “Beast”.
I met him and some of the amazing people, while on an Olsen Imaging photography photoshoot for Dr Stephen Karpuk of Aberdeen Chiropractic Clinic. Stephen and a couple other colleagues spent 6 weeks volunteering their services in the evening at the Wildfire Camp on Halston Avenue in Kamloops, treating very sore and worn out firefighters. More on them in a future post.
As for Dylan, he is a member of an Initial Attack Crew, whose main objective is to stop the fire before it becomes out of control. As you can imagine, he was quite busy this season. Dylan worked as a Student Ranger for BC Parks for a couple of years and frankly, the closest he got to a wildfire was smoke hanging over the city for a week or so. He applied because it was similar to his previous line of work and he now admits, he didn’t know what to expect. His eyes were opened wide when he was dispatched to the Cariboo Fire Centre.
Through this job he has certainty met some of the hardest working people out there. They all ate and shared daily stories in large open-air tents at the Camp.
Well over a hundred of these hardworking individuals from all parts of the Province and walk of life put it very long hours, doing grueling and dangerous work, battling some of the biggest and most aggressive wildfires in BC’s history.
They slept in small tents at the back of the BC Wildfire Camp
While Dylan can’t speak for BC Wildfire Service if he had any advice for the public, it would be to give firefighters the space they need to work safely. These people are like him and you, some of them have lost their homes, property, had their families relocated, worked countless hours sacrificing their personal lives for the protection of homes and communities. His last piece of advice would be that fire smarting works. It left him in awe to see structures untouched sitting on a small patch of green grass in the middle of total destruction.
Thank you to BC Wildfire Service Initial Attack Crew Firefighter Dylan Paterson. He is one of our unsung heroes.