DAWSON CREEK -- Across rural B.C.,the dedicated volunteers running rural fire departments are turning to local governments for help as firefighting becomes more complex, training costs rise, and volunteer recruitment is more challenging.

In 2021, the society running the Moberly Lake Volunteer Fire Department proposed a transition to a service operated by the Peace River Region District. The PRRD Board of Directors supported the change, and amended the service delivery model from providing funding to the volunteer society to a direct service delivery model. Starting January 1, 2022, the PRRD operates and manages the Moberly Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Moberly Lake residents shouldn’t notice any change, says Fire Chief Fred Burrows, the veteran firefighter and long-time chief of the Fort St John Fire Department,

“Residents were well-served for many years by an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers who provided critical fire prevention and suppression in the Moberly Lake area, and that’s what residents can continue to expect,” says Burrows.

The PRRD’s Electoral Area E Director Dan Rose, committed $242,250 in capital and operational upgrades to the fire department, a good portion of that will be spent on a new tracked exhaust removal system that will ensure the fire hall is properly vented when trucks are running inside. Other funds will go to upgrades to the fire hall: gas detectors, new lockers and gear for firefighters, water cistern maintenance and completion of the exterior water fill station.

Chief Burrows is assessing training needs and will work with the PRRD’s communications team for help with volunteer recruitment to strengthen the fire department’s capacity.