A new dedicated wildfire training and education centre at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) will welcome the province’s future wildfire fighters. The B.C. wildfire training and education centre is a first-of-its-kind program.

The centre, the first in North America to transition wildfire training into degree programs and research, will offer comprehensive wildfire training and education programs that progress from basic skills training and learning in the wildfire field, to the future development of wildfire academic diploma and degree programs in wildfire and emergency management disciplines.

Program design will start this year with intakes for program training beginning in 2025 in existing facilities. There are plans also underway to develop a state-of-the-art training facility and building.

The new centre, delivered in partnership with TRU and the Ministry of Forests’ BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), will enhance the training capacity at BCWS. In addition, BCWS will transition some of its existing training programs and courses into the centre’s new curriculum. By 2028-29, more than 1,000 workshops will be offered per year, which will translate into 10,000 course registrations.

This will complement the TRU Institute for Wildfire Science, Adaptation and Resiliency dedicated to research and innovation, which opened in October 2023. Both the new institute and B.C. wildfire training and education centre are building on an existing fire science lab and provincially funded Innovation Research Chair to form a world-class Wildfire Learning, Research and Innovation District at TRU.