The group of Pikogan volunteers with Kenny Ruperthouse, general manager of the Pikogan Solidarity Cooperative.
Anishinabeg people from Pikogan and Lac-Simon will lend a hand to SOPFEU forest firefighters.
A group of 25 volunteers hit the road Wednesday morning for a three-day training in Mont-Tremblant, in the Laurentians. Trained by SOPFEU (Society for the protection of forests against fire), the auxiliaries are called in as reinforcements in the intense season to directly fight forest fires on the ground.
SOPFEU asked us for a new group. It is a special training that they give. because we had already trained our auxiliary fighters about a month ago. And there, because of the fire situation, they asked me to find 25 more. I have 18 from here, in Pikogan, and I will have seven from Lac-Simon, explains Kenny Ruperthouse, general manager of the Pikogan Solidarity Cooperative.
Kenny Ruperthouse, General Manager of the Pikogan Solidarity Cooperative, and his right arm head of the auxiliary combatant component, Allan Trapper.
This new auxiliary workforce will then join the 21 other fighters of the Pikogan Solidarity Cooperative, which has been working with SOPFEU for ten years to protect the territory. Several have already been in the field since May 27 in support of SOPFEU.
“I am very happy that SOPFEU trusts the Cooperative of Pikogan. Our men are well appreciated there.
— Kenny Ruperthouse, General Manager of the Pikogan Solidarity Cooperative
AJ Kistabish, Steven Mapachee and Sacheen Ruperthouse-Trapper before the bus departure to Mont -Tremblant to follow the training of SOPFEU auxiliary combatants.
Among the new Pikogan volunteers, there are several veterans who are returning, while the forest fires greatly threaten the 'Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Northern Quebec.
This is the case of Sacheen Ruperthouse-Trapper, who is already looking forward to being back on the pitch.
I have done it before, three years ago. For me, it is a duty to do so, as a Quebecer and Canadian. I loved it. SOPFEU is like a family. Once you're in, we're super close. It's always adrenaline. It's important to stick together, because you can't do the job alone, she mentions.
On her side , Adam Mowatt-Vachon will be on his first experience.
I am usually a minor, but here I gave up my job and I am going to be a forest firefighter. Basically, I needed challenges, I'm going to try that. After the training, I hope to be launched as close to the fire as possible, he confides.