A women-in-fire training exchange program accidentally set Banff National Park ablaze after a prescribed burn went “out of control.”
Canada’s first ever Women-in-Fire Training Exchange (WTREX) is taking place in Banff, Alberta, between May 1 – 12. The application for the event accepted 35 people from “all genders.”
Following the mishap, an alert was issued, with local residents, tourists, and livestock evacuated from the area. The evacuation has since been lifted.
Canada Parks blamed the wind.
“Around 1600, due to an unexpected shift in wind direction and speed, the fire escaped the predetermined boundary,” Canada Parks stated.
WTREX’s equity-based initiative made selections “with diversity and inclusion goals in mind.”
The group seems to think that 50/50 gender representation in the firefighting community is a sign of progress.
“[Did you know] women are still underrepresented in the firefighting community?” Parks Canada said in March. “Diversity is strength which is why #WTREXCanada empowers more women to become leaders in fire management!”
The purpose of the burn was to achieve several objectives, including mitigating the risk of wildfire.
The latest update from Parks Canada indicates the fire outside the prescribed burn area is “being held” at 3 hectares. Five helicopters helped the firefighters get the blaze under control.
In what seems narrative control, Parks Canada said the ladies in the training program were certified. However, WTREX’s call for applicants in the program indicates only introductory-level courses were needed to attend the training program.
“WTREX is an opportunity to engage participants of all different genders, ethnic, and racial backgrounds to explore the growing role of women in fire management while also serving as a training opportunity to enhance their understanding of Incident Command System, fire ecology, communications and
outreach, leadership, prescribed fire planning and more,” the call for applicants read.