Information on Wildfire Training
The intention of this page is to answer some of the questions that have arisen regarding the delivery of wildland firefighting training in British Columbia.
After the 2017 fire season, there is understandably a heightened interest in ensuring that B.C. is ready for fire suppression in 2018. However, there is some confusion around what is considered official training and how it can be delivered or taken.
The following are courses are considered official training and are commonly offered to non-governmental personnel:
- S-100 Basic Fire Suppression and Safety (2005)
- S-100A Basic Fire Suppression and Safety Annual Recurrency (also known as S-10A)
- S-185 Fire Entrapment Avoidance & Safety (2006)
- S-212 Communications (2005)
- S-213 Use of Bulldozers (2005)
- S-230 Single Resource Leader (2005)
- S-235 Ignition Operations (2005)
- S-241 Fire Assessment (2005)
All of this training material is copyright the Province of British Columbia and cannot be changed, sold, or used without the express written permission of the BC Wildfire Service.
Official Training Courses
S-100 and S-100A
The most common fire training course in B.C. is the S-100, which is considered as basic fire suppression training for contract crews. The S-100 and S-100A are required to meet the training requirements under Section 26.3.1 Forestry Operation Fire Fighting of B.C.’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. The intended audience for this course is forest industry workers and contract fire fighters.
The S-100 is a two-day, 16-hour course with both a classroom and a field component. The annual refresher is a one-day, four-hour course and does not include a field component. Both the S-100 and S-100A are good for one year from date of delivery. If a person has taken either course within the last five years, they would only need to take the S-100A to be considered trained for the following year. If more than five years have passed since a person has taken either course, they would need to re-take the two-day, S-100 course again.
There is currently no “theory only” S-100 course recognized by the BC Wildfire Service.
S-100 and S-100A instructors must be officially recognized/endorsed by the BC Wildfire Service. Anyone not endorsed cannot teach the material in BC. S-100 endorsement is only provided to those who meet minimum requirements of wildfire and training experience.
S-100 training material (student and instructor guides) must be purchased from the BC Wildfire Service. Course completion (“certification”) cards are also available for purchase. Any student that does not have a course completion card signed by an endorsed instructor will not be considered as having taken the S-100.
The S-185 is intended as a general knowledge course on wildfire safety and entrapment avoidance for local governments, contract crews, and First Nations. Endorsement to instruct this course is provided by the BCWS with the S-100 endorsement. Endorsement letters should reference this endorsement. Evidence of completion (e.g. a card or certificate) of this course can be provided in a manner of the instructor’s choice. This is usually done with a certification card with the trainer’s name or company information, date completed, and student name.
Contract fire crews have to meet a high standard of training to be able to fight fire safely in B.C. The S-212, S-213, S-230, S-235, and S-241 are courses intended to provide Master Standing Offer companies with training material to meet the training needs of their Standing Offer. These courses are of a higher level than the S100 and S185, and instructors for this material must be adequately experienced and trained to be able to deliver this training. It is the responsibility of the company involved to determine the qualification of any instructors that they use. Most contract companies will use their own, internal instructors, but may outsource the training to a qualified individual when needed. A company is free not to accept external delivery of these courses if they feel that the trainer does not meet their standards, or there is a lack of evidence that the student was trained appropriately.
The training material for these courses is provided free of charge to companies once they have a signed contract with the BC Wildfire Service.
Following changes based on the recommendations from the BC Flood and Wildfire Review, the guidance presented here may change. Any changes will be communicated to training providers and the general public as appropriate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Training providers interested in teaching S-100, S-100A, and S-185 must send a request and resume to their local fire centre. The resume should outline the training provider’s background and experience in instruction and fire suppression specific training, as well as any experience in operational fire control. For 2018, please note that due to the large number of S-100 instructors currently active, fire centres may not accept applications for new endorsements. Requests may still be considered for companies looking to provide internal training to meet the requirements of Section 26.3.1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
Training providers have to show their endorsement letter from the BC Wildfire Service (previously Wildfire Management Branch or Protection Branch) when asked. If the training provider fails to produce a letter, or doesn’t have one, do not engage this instructor and report the incident to the BC Wildfire Service. A list of currently recognized instructors is available here. Instructors who teach solely for the purpose of internal staff meeting the training requirements of Section 26.3.1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation may not have their name or contact information on this list.
If you have lost your endorsement letter, contact the Fire Centre where you were endorsed and request a new letter. The centre may request evidence of qualification or a re-application if sufficient evidence cannot be presented.
No. One day S-100 courses do not meet the minimum requirements of Section 26.3.1 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation or Master Standing Offer contracts.
All requests for training material, aside from S-100/S-185, should go through the BC Wildfire Service Kamloops Headquarters at 250-312-3000. Training providers should consult with the BC Wildfire Service prior to offering training programs of this magnitude.
The BC Wildfire Service does not dictate the price of this training. Training providers can set the price to whatever they feel meet the needs of the industry.
All S-100 material can be purchased through the BC Wildfire Service by contacting the 1-800 Centre via email: HPR.firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not use the fire reporting telephone line to request training material.
Depending on your approval to teach these other S-Series courses. It is recognized that correctly instructed wildfire training is important and may be provided to groups that request the training (local governments, First Nations, contract crews, etc.). However, the trainer must have the approval of the BC Wildfire Service to use the training material and no claim can be made that the training offered meets the training requirements of the BC Wildfire Service or contract companies unless you have a specific agreement with that company.
Requests for access/use of training material will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
None of the basic firefighting training courses listed above were considered as requirements or recommended training for the 2018 recruitment process. Applications for BC Wildfire Service crews are accepted from November – January annually and the requirements for application are listed here.
Contract fire crew companies set their own requirements for application. Aside from S-100 and S-185, the BC Wildfire Service does not endorse any other training, so it would be up to the individual companies to determine if instructors are qualified to teach the material for the needs of their company.
The BC Wildfire Service is in the middle of a comprehensive review of all external training courses and any updated training material will be released after this review is completed. There will likely be no changes to the material for the 2018 fire season, so training providers should proceed with training using the current materials. However, due to the expected update, it is not recommended that providers purchase any more S-100 materials than necessary to complete their scheduled training deliveries for the spring of 2018, as this material will become obsolete following an update.