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. Read the dispatcher job profile here.

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

Applications to become a seasonal dispatcher with the BC Wildfire Service have opened. The deadline to apply is Jan. 17, 2022.

The BC Wildfire Service continues to adapt to the changing conditions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through public health authority guidance, the organization has implemented appropriate measures to protect employees and prospective employees, while ensuring emergency response preparedness. The goals of the BC Wildfire Service related to COVID-19 include keeping staff members and prospective staff members informed, reducing the risk of staff and applicant exposure to COVID-19, maintaining a supportive, healthy and resilient workforce, and adapting our operations and response to risk as necessary.

The BCWS Recruiting Team remains committed to developing a safe and effective application process for all staff and prospective staff involved. In order to achieve these goals related to COVID-19, the BCWS will be utilizing a similar application and interview process that was developed last season. These changes are aimed at providing an inclusive, safe and effective environment for our organization to complete the hiring process.

As the COVID-19 situation in our province continues to change, so does our application process with the aim of providing the opportunity for all potential applicants to participate in the process. What does remain the same is the online application process. If you are interested in a position with the BC Wildfire Service, please continue with your online application between the dates of Nov. 29, 2021 and Jan. 17, 2022. The BC Wildfire Service has made changes to the interview process. For further information please read the “Interview Process Changes for the 2022 Season” section below.

Applications must be completed and submitted online through the link below. Paper applications will not be accepted. The online application consists of a questionnaire as well as uploading a resume.

Access the online application form

Attn: Tracy Freeman
Phone: (778) 799-2155
BCWS.CAFCRecruitment@gov.bc.ca

 

Coastal Fire Centre - Parksville, B.C.

Attn: Janice Smith
Phone: (250) 947-2624
BCWS.COFCRecruitment@gov.bc.ca

 

Kamloops Fire Centre - Kamloops, B.C.

Attn: Erica Ducommun
Phone: (250) 312-6784
Erica.Ducommun@gov.bc.ca

Attn: Sandra Douglas
Phone:  (250) 876-6994
Sandra.Douglas@gov.bc.ca

Attn: Sandra Johnston
Phone: (250) 645-9582
Sandra.Johnston@gov.bc.ca

 

Southeast Fire Centre - Castlegar, B.C. 

Attn: Tracy Kemp
Phone: (778) 364-1213
Tracy.Kemp@gov.bc.ca

 

What you need to know before you apply

Are you eligible to apply?

Before you apply for a position, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. All positions in the BC Public Service require that applicants are eligible to work in Canada.

To be eligible to work in Canada, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada or authorized in writing to work in Canada under the federal Immigration Act. Eligibility to work in Canada is granted through citizenship, permanent resident status or a work permit.

You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to accept a permanent job offer (unless stated otherwise in the posting).

If you have a valid temporary work permit, you may be eligible for temporary (auxiliary) work but only until your work permit expires or is renewed. For information on temporary work permit requirements, go to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

BC Public Service COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

On Nov. 1, 2021, the BC Public Service announced the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy that defines the conditions and expectations for BC Public Service employees regarding vaccination against COVID-19. Among other possible measures, proof of vaccination will be required by Nov. 22, 2021. It is a term of acceptance of employment that you agree to comply with all vaccination requirements that apply to the BC Public Service.

During the application process you will be asked about your vaccination status, and further on you will be asked to provide proof of your vaccination status. This information will remain confidential.

Preferred qualifications

It is the responsibility of candidates to clearly identify on both their resume and application how they meet the preferred qualifications. Meeting all the preferred qualifications is not required, but an applicant should clearly demonstrate how they meet as many of the qualifications as they can. Generally, an applicant would be required to show strong examples in two or three of the preferred qualifications to be considered for an interview. The BC Wildfire Service is looking for applicants who have a well-rounded set of skills and experiences that show their ability to work well on a team, an ability to solve problems, pay attention to detail, and remain flexible to changing conditions for an extended period of time.

Interview Process Changes for the 2022 Season

As stated above, the first phase of the application process will remain the same. Potential applicants will submit an online application through the link “Access online application form” provided at the top of this page in order to be considered.

Applicants who successfully pass the screening phase will be invited to an interview. The interview will consist of a series of behavioral competencies, situational and technical questions related to the position. In order to provide a safe environment that reduces COVID-19 exposure through travel and in-person meetings, the BC Wildfire Service may hold virtual interviews for the 2022 recruiting cycle.          

Timeline

The recruiting process can be quite lengthy, running from the application deadline in January to a job offers between March-May. The BC Wildfire Service makes every effort to keep candidates informed on their status during this time by email and phone, but it is an applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their contact information is current throughout the process. If an applicant is no longer being considered, the BC Wildfire Service will advise the applicant as soon as possible.

General timeline for the recruiting process:

  • November 30 – online applications open
  • Mid-January – application deadline
  • February to March – interviews at various locations in B.C.
  • March 1 to May 1 – job offers; date range due to local Fire Centre’s needs for staffing

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the online application the only way to apply?

A: Yes, all applications are received on behalf of the BC Wildfire Service by the BC Public Service Agency. The application process consists of creating a profile, filling out a questionnaire and uploading your resume. To apply please look for the link posted by the end of November. Email, paper or faxed copies will not be accepted.

Q: How can I get feedback on my application or interview?

A: Due to the large volume of applications we are unable to provide individual feedback for applications. Applicants must clearly detail in the questionnaire any preferred qualifications they meet in order to be considered.

The interview panel may be able to provide general feedback from your interview when it is conducted but will not be able to tell you how well you did in relation to other interviewees.

Q: How can I update my contact information?

A: Please refer to the instructions on the application site to update your contact information.

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, but you must apply to each Fire Centre you are interested in. Applying to one location does not indicate an application to any other centre.

Q: What happens next after I apply?
A: After the application deadline and if your application passes the initial screening, you will be contacted by email and advised of the the next steps in the process. Depending on the number of applicants, an assessment (e.g. written assignment, typing test, MS Office skills check, etc.) may occur prior to the interview stage. If your application is not successful, you are still encouraged to reapply the following year.

Q: How can I get more information about the position?
A: You may contact the person listed under the relevant fire centre with further questions about the position.

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: What is the difference between dispatchers at Regional Fire Centres and the Provincial Airtanker Centre?
A: The Dispatcher Roles and Responsibilities described above apply to all dispatchers in BC Wildfire Service but best describe what dispatchers can expect when they work at Fire Centres. The Provincial Airtanker Centre (PATC) is located in Kamloops at the Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre. PATC dispatchers are responsible for responding to airtanker requests and dispatching the appropriate resources under the direction of the Provincial Airtanker Coordination Officer. PATC dispatchers work in Central Dispatch and in Logistics on a rotational basis. In Central Dispatch, dispatchers act as a communications platform to relay information between Air Attack Officers, the Coordination Officer, and Fire Centres. In Logistics, staff will send out dispatch emails to the aircrews, call for fuel for returning aircraft, and take care of other logistics related to airtanker operations. During the fire season, airtanker operations run 7 days a week, but due to limitations with night-time flying no overnight shift work is required.