In civilian life they are farmers, carpenters, butchers, heavy machine operators and a recent high school graduate, but now 69 army reservists from Saskatchewan are deploying to the front lines to fight wildfires in the north.
Lieutenant Colonel Vic Sattler is the commanding officer of the Royal Regina Rifles.
“They all have full time jobs elsewhere so they’ve had to ask their employer for time off so they can go and fight the forest fires,” Sattler explained.
He points out that basic military training prepares reservists for working in austere conditions for long hours in highly stressful conditions.
“We’re sort of that 911 call when you need somebody to come and put no extra additional stresses on the province or wherever we’re going and we’re completely self contained to do that,” he said.
For Private Tom Poier from Langenburg, this is exactly why he joined the army reserves.
“It was actually exactly for reasons like this, to help my country out for domestic operations and anything overseas,” he said.
Just like the regular forces, the reservists will take an 8 hour crash course in fighting fires when they get to Prince Albert. Then they will be sent to communities to watch fire lines, put out hot spots where they can, and provide logistical support to regular firefighters.
“I’m not actually really sure what to expect when we head up there, I guess we’ll just have to find out,” he said while getting ready to leave from Regina Friday afternoon.
Poier says it feels great to know he can help his fellow Canadians, especially in his home province.
“I think everybody is fairly excited to head up north and see what we can do up there to help our province out,” he said.
Follow on Twitter: @AdrianaC_JME