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Hudson’s Hope looks to bolster fire command response

The District of Hudson’s Hope is considering the purchase of a new water-equipped command truck for its local fire departments after two grassfires and deployment to the Mount Le Morary wildfire last year. 
command-mockup
A mockup of what the new command unit would look like.

The District of Hudson’s Hope is considering the purchase of a new water-equipped command truck for its local fire departments after two grassfires and deployment to the Mount Le Morary wildfire last year. 

Fire Chief Brad Milton submitted a report to district council on Jan. 24, making a business case for a one-ton pickup truck at a cost of a $141,007.15, and equipped with a skid unit, water tank, and pump for wildland firefighting. A 200-gallon tank would allow the unit to extinguish 1,400 feet of fire, while the skid could be used in the case of structure fires.

The Hudson’s Hope Fire Department responded to two separate grass fires in May 2021 near Canyon Drive, with one almost reaching the treeline. A water-equipped command unit would have greatly reduced risk, according to Milton's report, as members were forced to prioritize one fire over the other. 

“Had the commander at the time had a vehicle with water onboard he could have actioned one fire while the crew of the other vehicle actioned the other. This would have led to faster extinguishment and less time spent on overhaul due to fire size,” Milton wrote in the report.

The department was also deployed to the Mount Le Moray fire, with four members assisting the fight against a 2,000-hectare blaze, providing structural protection support. The vehicle could also be used by the Beryl Prairie Fire Department and help tackle hard-to-reach areas within the district, such as forestry roads. 

“With our harsh northern wilderness, the operation of a large city engine is not always practical. These large heavy road engines are incapable of leaving a road or well-kept resource road due to their size and weight,” Milton wrote.

Mayor Dave Heiberg says he appreciates Milton’s efforts to thoroughly detail the benefits of an additional command unit. 

“We’ve referred it to our budget to see how it could fit into our long term planning, there’s going to be some major capital expenditures with some of our engines,” Heiberg said. "They’re not cheap, and they time out not necessarily because they’re old or anything, but because of rules and regulations."

Read Milton's full report to council below:

Hudson's Hope FD Command Unit Report - Jan 2022 by AlaskaHighwayNews on Scribd


Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Email Tom at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca