The B.C. Wildfire Centre’s 2019 Blackwater Unit Crew, based out of Quesnel. Facebook/Eric Depeneau photo

Universities in B.C. and Alberta to study mental and physical health of wildfire crews

University of Nortern B.C. and University of Alberta get funding from BC Wildfire Service

Researchers at two universities – one in B.C. and one in Alberta – are studying the mental health effects of fighting wildfires.

On Tuesday, the B.C. government announced that the B.C. Wildfire Service has provided $305,000 to help fund research projects at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George and the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Dr. Chelsea Pelletier, the project’s leader and an assistant professor at UNBC’s School of Health Sciences, said much less research is done on wildland firefighters compared to other first responders.

“Wildland firefighters work really hard – especially over the past few summers, we’ve seen that very much in northern B.C. – so we kind of owe it to them to more better understand what health risks are associated with that,” she said.

The project will look at the existing body of research and knowledge, identify any gaps in that knowledge, and identify any improvements from around the world that could be implemented right away in B.C.

The team will also interview employees of the BC Wildfire Service and wildland firefighters themselves to see what they feel is important for their mental health.

The final report, expected next summer, will help BC Wildfire establish a long-term research strategy for worker health, the province said.

READ MORE: B.C. to overhaul emergency procedures for wildfires, floods



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Dr. Chelsea Pelletier, an assistant professor at the University of Northern British Columbia’s School of Health Sciences, is leading a research project looking into the health impacts of wildland firefighting. Photo submitted

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Former Grand Forks fire chief suing city for wrongful dismissal

Dale Heriot was fired in July 2019 after his department was investigated for safety, bullying issues

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary seeks online feedback on transit, housing

Surveys on the RDKB’s website are asking for input to help plan for the future

School District 51 staff iron out plan for return to classrooms

Teachers are looking for a comprehensive health and safety plan to be in place before June 1

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

82% of all test-positive COVID-19 cases in B.C. have recovered

B.C. had 303 active cases as of Saturday, May 23

Most Read