Wildfire Dispatch

Dispatchers are employed at each of the province’s six fire centres, providing the communication link between the wildfire coordination centres to aircraft and personnel in the field and they implement pre-approved fire control decisions. Dispatchers must be able to stay calm and focused in emergency situations, know how to multitask effectively, have good written and verbal communication skills, be a team player, and be willing to work extended periods with minimal time off during the summer.

Quick Links

Dispatcher Roles and Responsibilities

A dispatcher fills a vital and highly technical role that involves:

  • Receiving and responding to initial fire reports;
  • Handling all radio transmissions;
  • Monitoring and implementing all safety procedures for personnel, aircraft and equipment;
  • Transmitting, receiving, relaying and documenting communications between various individuals and groups;
  • Operating computer equipment and applications to access and track wildfires, fire weather, forecasts, indices, weather station observations, lightning location, aircraft management and advanced fire management;
  • Receive fire updates and fire hazard information, record all required information, and forward it to all relevant personnel;
  • Maintain and record a daily log of wildfire activity;
  • Implement or assist with the implementation of emergency response procedures to downed aircraft or other emergency situations as required;
  • Working independently at times and also directly with any number of other team members as required;
  • Multitasking, prioritizing, organizing, and completing workload while remaining flexible to changing conditions;
  • Taking on other projects and tasks as needed.

The work is characterized by multiple demands, interruptions, time critical requests, and changes of pace throughout the day. Attention to detail is very important and the nature of the work requires professionalism and discretion to ensure confidentiality. Dispatchers must be able to work accurately and efficiently under stressful and prolonged circumstances.

Application Process

The dispatcher job competition opens in November of each year. Interested applicants should download and submit an application package (PDF) to the location(s) of their choice by the end of the third week of February. All application packages must be received by 4:30 p.m. on the day of the application deadline.

Attn:  Darren Wilkinson
3020 Airport Rd
Williams Lake  BC  V2G 5M1

Office:  (250) 989-2600
Fax:  (250) 989-5149

Darren.Wilkinson@gov.bc.ca

 

Coastal Fire Centre - Parksville, B.C.

Attn: Janice Smith
665 Allsbrook Rd
Parksville BC  V9P 2T3

Office:  (250) 951-4201
Fax:  (250) 954-0819

Janice.Smith@gov.bc.ca

 

Kamloops Fire Centre - Kamloops, B.C.

Attn:  Erica Ducommun
4000 Airport Drive
Kamloops   BC  V2B 7X2

Office:  (250) 554-5500
Fax:  (250) 376-6549

Erica.Ducommun@gov.bc.ca

Attn:  Alyson Guenter
Bag 5000, 3359 Victoria Drive
Smithers  BC  V0J 2N0

Office:  (250) 847-6633
Fax:  (250) 847-2737

Alyson.Guenter@gov.bc.ca 

Attn:  Sandra Johnston
1011 - 4th Avenue
Prince George  BC  V2L 3H9

Office:  (250) 565-6577
Fax:  (250) 565-6531

Sandra.Johnston@gov.bc.ca

 

Southeast Fire Centre - Castlegar, B.C. 

Attn:  Cindy Munns
208 Hughes Rd
Castlegar, BC  V1N 4M5

Office:  (250) 365-4040
Fax:  (250) 365-9925

Cindy.Munns@gov.bc.ca

 

Provincial Airtanker Centre - Kamloops, B.C

Attn:  Bruce Coutanche
3080 Airport Drive
Kamloops   BC  V2B 7X2

Office:  (250) 312-3000
Fax:  (250) 554-5428

Bruce.Coutanche@gov.bc.ca

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is multitasking so important?
A: Dispatchers are required to monitor various computer programs and radio channels. Activity in the dispatch centre is often hectic and dispatchers who are unable to multitask effectively will not be able to handle the increased activity.

Q: What if I want to apply to multiple locations?
A: You may apply to more than one location. Send your application to the contact for each location that you would be willing to accept a position.

Q: What happens next after I apply?
A: If your application passes initial screening, you will be contacted by phone or email to attend an interview. We will only contact applicants who successfully pass the initial screening criteria and who will be invited for an interview. If your application is incomplete or late, your application will not be considered but you are encouraged to reapply again the following year.

Q: How can I get more information on my status throughout the process?
A: You may contact the person listed for the relevant fire centre. Depending on how many applications are received, the recruiting process can be quite lengthy and the timeline can also vary slightly between Fire Centres due to off-season staffing levels. The general timeline for the fire season recruiting process is:

  • 3rd Friday in February - application deadline for all Fire Centres
  • Late February - application screening
  • February/March - interviews in various locations in B.C.
  • March/April - job offers for upcoming fire season

Q: How can I update my contact information?
A: Please send an email with your updated information to each Fire Centre contact that you submitted an application to.

Q: How many applications do you receive and how many jobs are there?
A: On average the BC Wildfire Service receives 200-400 dispatcher applications each year. There are approximately 50 dispatchers in total across B.C. The number of available jobs changes from year to year, ranging from 10 for a slow year, to over 25 for a high turnover year.

Q: How long is the interview process?
A: The interview process takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. It consists of a panel interview, a typing test and a computerized call response test.