Crowds gather in Eskasoni, for 30th annual National Firefighting Competition


Aboriginal firefighters from coast-to-coast are visiting Cape Breton this weekend for the National Firefighting Competition.

It's the 30th year for the event being held in Eskasoni, N.S. this year.

The top eight teams of aboriginal volunteer firefighters are going head-to-head in a variety of contests.

"Eskasoni is so beautiful here. The weather is just perfect for this, and the people are great," said Team B.C. captain, Gilbert Vickers.

This is the first time the Maritimes' largest Mi'kmaq community has hosted the competition. Eskasoni's chief said he and his band council were confident from the moment they applied.

"We felt that we have the area, and the capacity, and the support of the community, especially our firefighters, to host such an event," said Eskasoni First Nation Chief Leroy Denny.

Chief Denny believes this competition is a great inspiration for the children in their community.

"They're watching, they're asking questions, and hopefully they'll want to become a volunteer firefighter themselves," said Denny.

Participants say although their main reason for visiting the island was the competition, they don't plan to miss out on the beautiful nature this region has to offer.

"We came from one ocean to the other ocean. We're all down at the Harbour, and we're going to dip our toes in the Atlantic just to get a shot of that," said Vickers.

The competition wrapped up on Sunday, while the event itself runs through until Sunday.

(With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald)