Brian Menzies lays down hoses just to the north of the West Fraser Log Yard fire. The log yard was reported as ablaze in the afternoon on Tuesday, Nov. 9, in between Kandola Forest Products (the former CNC Mill) and the Quesnel Cemetery. Firefighters quickly worked to contain the fire, which was fed by wind gusts of up to 50 km/h on Nov. 9. While the fire would be contained after a night of work, it would continue to burn for two more days. For more, see page 6 of the Observer. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Brian Menzies lays down hoses just to the north of the West Fraser Log Yard fire. The log yard was reported as ablaze in the afternoon on Tuesday, Nov. 9, in between Kandola Forest Products (the former CNC Mill) and the Quesnel Cemetery. Firefighters quickly worked to contain the fire, which was fed by wind gusts of up to 50 km/h on Nov. 9. While the fire would be contained after a night of work, it would continue to burn for two more days. For more, see page 6 of the Observer. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel firefighters set record for most calls in a year

In a report to council, Fire Chief Ron Richert said the department responded to 642 911 calls

Quesnel firefighters responded to on average 1.76 911 calls per day in 2021.

That’s according to numbers reported to Quesnel city council by fire chief Ron Richert.

The 674 calls the department responded to are the highest ever recorded and nearly 200 more than in 2020.

In the Quesnel Fire Department 2021 Incident Report, which will be presented to Quesnel council during their Jan. 18 meeting, Richert noted the department received increased medical aids, BC Ambulance Service Lift Assists, burning complaints, item fires, serious and minor motor vehicle accidents and small wildland fires compared to previous years.

“Medical calls were the largest increase in 2021,” he wrote.

“The Quesnel Fire Department provides backup first responder medical aid to the BC Ambulance Service. We were dispatched to 127 medical aid calls in 2021, compared to 47 in 2020.”

Quesnel firefighters also spent over 500 hours helping the BC Fire Commissioners Office fight wildfires in 2021.

“Engine 31 pumper was deployed for 39 days throughout the summer with a total of 15 Quesnel firefighters on the deployment list which was previously established,” Richert wrote.

“Four firefighters would rotate every seven days to various wildfires in the province.”

Quesnel crews were deployed to Burns Lake and Cache Creek throughout July and August. Quesnel firefighters received $96,000 in wages, and the department received over $300,000 for use of their engine.

The firefighters helped patrol fire areas, extinguished structure fires, took care of hotspots and replenished water tanks used for sprinkler protection systems while deployed.

“These wildfire deployments also offered us a chance to learn more about how to deal with a proper response to interface wildfire and it also gave us the opportunity to look at our equipment and what would better serve the fire department in this type of situation,” Richert wrote.

“In all, these deployments were very valuable to our members and the experience and knowledge they received will be of benefit to our department and the city.”

The Quesnel Fire Department has four staff and 33 volunteer firefighters. Each volunteer firefighter trains more than 100 hours each year.

A full list of the types of calls the department was deployed to is available in the city council’s Jan. 18 meeting agenda.

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