Canadian-made innovation in firefighting pays off against wildfires

As Western Canada prepares for what’s expected to be an intense season for wildfires, a company that’s built firefighting equipment for more than 100 years says it has a new tool that will make a difference on the ground.

Michael Cookson, a former wildland firefighter who now works with Waterax, a leading Canadian developer of wildfire fighting equipment, says technology is advancing even as wildfire risk grows.

On the ground, wildland firefighters are given a variety of tools that have been developed to give them an edge on fires.

“The Mark 3, if you’ve been at any wildfire across the country, it’s the pump you’ve seen. It’s been around since 1964, but we’ve also introduced the Watson – we want to make it the modern pump for the modern firefighter,” he said.

Cookson says Waterax improved the pump by reducing its weight and making it easier to start and maintain.

The Watson can be brought into the field to use any water source – be it a creek, river or swamp – to create a spray.

“It’s a big game changer because it can move water miles and miles,” he said. “You can do multiple setups, so set up a pump, move 1,000 feet and set up another pump.”

He says the new version of the pump is also mounted on a harness so it can be carried to wherever it’s needed, whenever it’s needed.

According to Alberta Wildfire’s online dashboard, there are 14 active wildfires in the province, with one of those in the Peace River Forest Area listed as out-of-control.

That fire, which was discovered at 2 p.m. on May 27, has burned approximately 26 hectares.

The fire danger in the Calgary Forest Area is still low.

Cookson hopes the season will be calm for wildland firefighters for as long as possible.

“Right now, it looks like the weather is holding off, so hopefully it will be like that for a while.”

#Canadianmade #innovation #firefighting #pays #wildfires

Leave a Comment