Yukon First Nation Wildfire CEO Chad Thomas, Ta'an Kwachan First Nation Chief Kristina Kane and Council of Yukon First Nation Chief Peter Johnston spoke at the start of the third annual bootcamp this morning which aims to train perspective firefighters in the territory.
Yukon First Nation Wildfire kicked off their third annual Beat the Heat Bootcamp this morning at the Yukon Convention Centre.
The 9-day bootcamp will aim to train over 100 participants to a level two firefighting certification, and will cover everything from firefighting safety, first aid and helicopter training.
Ta'an Kwatchan Chief Kristina Kane, who has considerable experience as a fire dispatcher herself, says she's incredibly proud of the future firefighters at the bootcamp.
"Being hear demonstrates courage and commitment to your community and to the Yukon as a whole. You're all leaders in our eyes...I wish you all success in the program."
Council of Yukon First Nation Grand Chief Peter Johnston says it's great to come together to train perspective firefighters, particularly in times of need.
"It's always good to see that people are people interested taking on this initiative. Seeing other jurisdictions that have suffered greatly, it's good to see people interested in supporting them (and protect) our wildlife and our ways of living."
Yukon First Nations Wildfire Chairperson Jani Djokic says the numbers around the event this year are astounding.
"We have about 100 participants with about 45 new recruits. That's monumental if you look at the numbers. This is the first time that we have the highest turnout of female firefighters and we have over 80% percent First Nations representation."
Yukon First Nation Wildfire CEO Chad Thomas also highlights the necessity the territorial firefighter play, especially since the Charlie group were the first Yukon crew to help battle the Telegraph Creek Wildfires in Northwestern British Columbia last summer.
Thomas says he remembers starting firefighting initiatives in the territory with the Da Daghay development Corporation from just a couple members.
"It started in 2013 with Da Daghay. I had two crew members that were hired on, Jessie Potofsky and Jordan Profit. Those guys are still with me today. They're are a big part of our team and a big part of our management. I wouldn't be here at all without their support."
Yukon First Nation Wildfire is owned and operated by eight different First Nations entities.