A member of Telkwa CRC, Mike is a grad student
studying law at the University of Ottawa. During the summer,
he works as a forest firefighter, battling blazes throughout BC and
beyond – something that kept him busy over the past few months. Here he talks about his summer work; perhaps another time,
I’ll interview him about what he does the rest of the year…–
What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the name Jesus?
My initial response leaves me at a loss for words. Profound love comes to mind. Saviour, Redeemer, Lamb of God, and the list could easily go on and on.
What’s the best thing about being a forest
If it’s only one thing, it’s the people with whom you work. Day in and day out I work with motivated, intelligent, and hard working people that genuinely care about their job. If I could say two things, I’d say people and helicopters. Flying in helicopters to fires is incredible for obvious reasons.
What do you miss most from home when you’re fighting fires elsewhere in the province?
My family. I miss spending time with my parents and brothers. I also miss spending time with friends from back home.
Have you ever been in a situation where you especially needed God’s help or sensed His presence?
Yes to both questions. First, firefighting is a challenging job and, by its nature, there are a number of situations in which I have needed God’s help – whether that be because of a fire with the potential to escape or a conflict on the fireline. In my experience, I have often sensed God’s calming presence in these times. That said, the times I most sense God’s presence are when a fire is blowing up. The raw force and enormity of the fire remind me of the awesome power of God.
Have you been able to share your faith with your colleagues? What’s that been like?
A few times. It’s always been thoughtful and respectful. It helps that one of my crew members is a Christian, so we can have spiritual discussions and invite the other guys to add their two bits.
What advice would you give someone who’d like to spend their summers fighting forest fires?
Apply. Talk to someone working for the Ministry of Forests or someone that runs a contract crew. Get fit. Make sure you enjoy spending time in the bush.
(CBC has a photo gallery of BC’s forest fires from 2010 here.
Mike’s last name was removed to decrease his digital footprint.)