Strathcona County hosts specialized wildfire training program

May 27, 2024

Strathcona County hosts specialized wildfire training program

Every year, wildfires threaten our safety. They’re becoming more common, and they’re burning closer to our communities.

Between May 27 and May 30, Strathcona County will be the first Canadian community in 2024 to host the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Responding to the Interface (RTI) program and further their specialized training in fighting wildfires that burn in areas where communities meet grasslands and forests. This area, known as the wildland urban interface (WUI), requires different approaches and tools than urban fires.

“We are very proud to host this training,” says Martin Paulson, Strathcona County Fire Chief. “Strathcona County has a large WUI with many rural residences and hamlets. Our firefighters are already trained for WUI firefighting; however, it is critical that we continue to grow our skills and learn techniques from other jurisdictions.”

The RTI program is designed to provide firefighters with a consistent understanding of safety, command and control, strategy and tactics to use when fighting WUI fires.

"We are very grateful for the support of the Strathcona County Emergency Services and IAFF Local 2461, as well as the Federal Government, in bringing this important training program to the region," says IAFF District Vice President Mike Carter. "The escalating threat of urban interface fires sweeping across Canada is undeniable, jeopardizing our communities with potential property damage and posing significant risks to human life. IAFF takes pride in ensuring that firefighters are trained to safely and effectively respond to the challenges of urban interface fires, thereby enhancing their ability to protect our communities."

The RTI course is presented by IAFF instructors who are coming from across Canada and the United States. Following the RTI course, these experts will train and certify attending firefighters to teach the course themselves, leaving behind trained and trusted local instructors to provide the RTI course to all local firefighters, enhancing the overall firefighting response and increasing community safety.

“We thank the residents in Busenius Estates for agreeing to allow us to use their properties for more realistic training,” says Chief Paulson. “By enhancing our firefighting skills, we continue to provide the best protection we can for the safety of our residents.”


Contact Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595