Its a major problem affecting forest fighters in B.C heading into another season.
The problem, raised by the president of the BC Government Employees Union Stephanie Smith, as she met with forest firefighters in Kamloops over the weekend.
Smith says, if an urban firefighter develops cancer, it is presumed to have been caused at work and they are entitled benefits from WorkSafe B.C.
However Smith says, that’s not the case for wild land firefighters.
“Often times, there are many household appliances, many households items, cars, tanks with illegal dumping. Our firefighters are exposed to everything without any respiratory equipment at all.”
Smith says, these members are sometimes exposed for 12 to 14 hours for days at a time to high levels of smoke.
Smith is raising this issue during the current round of contract talks with the provincial government.