Firefighters facing mental health challenges as northern wildfires persist
With climate change expected to worsen wildfires in the future, some firefighters say gruelling labour conditions and mental health challenges are taking a toll on the workforce.
Officials have called this wildfire season unprecedented, with more than 137-thousand square kilometres of land scorched across Canada to date.
Blazes have also forced tens of thousands from their homes this season, and four wildland firefighters have died on the job.
Steve Lemon, the safety and well-being officer with the B-C Wildfire Service, says the challenging conditions are affecting firefighters' mental health and causing burnout.
Alex Lane is a firefighter with the service and a master's student researching the mental health outcomes of wildland firefights in B-C.
She says there's been an increase in psychological injuries and workers taking time off due to psychological health issues in recent years.