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SOPFEU wants to recruit more forest firefighters for 2024

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A firefighter of SOPFEU in action (Archive photo)

  • Charles-Étienne Drouin (View profile)Charles-Étienne Drouin

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The Society for the Protection of Forests Against Fire (SOPFEU) is in the middle of a recruitment campaign for forest firefighters. While it is usually more difficult for the organization to recruit on the North Shore, the historic wildfire season of 2023 could change things.

SOPFEU generally needs 25 to 30 new firefighters each year out of the 240 positions available in Quebec.

But with the enormous fires of last summer, the organization is seeing the scale of the task which is increasing.

The organization hopes that Quebec will authorize the company to hire more staff for the summer of 2024.

We keep our fingers crossed. We hope that the Quebec government will authorize the addition of a number of firefighters to our operations. We could then recruit more, explains SOPFEU spokesperson Stéphane Caron.

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It’s a social choice. To what level do we want to be autonomous in our battle against fire without necessarily having to call, for example, the army to the rescue?

A quote from Stéphane Caron, spokesperson for the Society for the Protection of forests against fire

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Stéphane Caron, prevention and communications coordinator at SOPFEU. (Archive photo)

Recruiting forest firefighters is more complicated in certain remote regions, including Abitibi and the North Shore. The firefighters will want to go to operating bases that are located further south, specifies Mr. Caron.

The scale of the forest fires in last summer, however, changed the situation.

We had a lot of visibility last summer. This led many people to become interested in the profession of forest firefighter. We are still receiving a lot of resumes at the moment for all regions, indicates the spokesperson.

The jobs potentially to be filled are located in particular in Baie-Comeau, Bonaventure, Havre-Saint-Pierre, Rimouski, Sept-Îles, Roberval, Duchesnay, La Tuque, Chibougamau, Maniwaki, Mont-Tremblant, Val-d'Or and Matagami.

The current call for applications at SOPFEU ends in mid-January.

SOPFEU is not the only administrative entity to have learned lessons from last summer's forest fires.

In Sept-Îles, the director of the Sept-Îles fire safety service, Joël Sauvé, considers that new protection measures must be implemented to protect the city.

If I need to protect a telecommunications tower or water treatment plant, what should I do? What do I need? We are in the process of establishing our needs, says Joël Sauvé.

In Sept-Îles, the acquisition of new equipment this winter is considered. The bill could amount to $100,000, according to the fire chief.

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