Kelowna students learn how to fight forest fires through SD23 program (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News).

Central Okanagan students train to fight wildfires

The students battled a pretend blaze in Joe Rich off Three Forks Road

Students from Central Okanagan Public Schools were in the hot hills of Joe Rich on Wednesday (June 2), learning how to fight forest fires.

The Rutland Senior Secondary Forestry Academy program is open to all School District 23 students who want to learn more about a career in fire fighting or forestry while getting school credit.

Both fire fighting students and forestry students collaborated to learn how to battle a blaze by the side of Three Forks Road.

Students gained hands-on experience by pretending there were fires up in the hills with flagging tape. They deployed a standard hose lay, drafted water from a big porta tank with pumps, and pumped the water up the hills.

In addition to the fire mitigation, students also practiced fire guarding with digging hand tools and performed a fitness test where they did a timed walk with heavyweight on their bodies.

Lexie Osborne is in the program and was inspired to take join thanks to a firefighter she knows very well.

“My auntie is a firefighter. She was one of the first female firefighters in the Lower Mainland and she thought that I should get into it,” Osborne told the Capital News.

She added that she loves doing activities outdoors and her dad has always encouraged her to be physically strong.

The SD23 programs aim is to give students the opportunity to experience a real working day at both of these jobs, which will help them figure out their career path – and for Osborne, it worked.

“I initially thought I wanted to be a firefighter but then I was kind of leaning more away from it, but now that I’ve taken it, I really want to do it,” she said.

READ MORE: Kelowna organizations partner to plant garden, give vegetables to families in need

READ MORE: West Kelowna winery launches new exhibit to celebrate Indigenous artists

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