Five firefighters from the Pembina Valley will receive training in the new year, specific to fighting fires at a landfill.

Winkler Fire Chief Richard Paetzold says landfill fires are not something they have responded to a lot in the past, but they've become more common in recent years. He notes the Winkler Fire Department (WFD) has responded to three fires at the SWAMP Landfill in the last couple of years, and none in the decade previous to that.

The cause of the landfill fires haven't been determined, although Paetzold says they have some thoughts of what may be a potential cause, lithium batteries being one.

Paetzold says they've discussed with SWAMP about having a plan, or developing a policy on how to deal with a landfill fire, from a tactics standpoint. He said however, part of having tactics, is having the proper training. He notes they always look forward to, and always jump on opportunities to take training to make themselves better at what they do.

SWAMP will be covering the cost for five members, between the Winkler and Morden Fire Departments to attend the training in the new year. The course is designed to assist firefighting professionals better understand the challenges and impacts of landfill fires, and also how what they do as a department impacts the landfill's operations.

"The key thing here is, that often we want to just jump on it and pour water on it and extinguish the fire," noted Paetzold. "But a lot of these landfill fires are long and arduous tasks to extinguish, and sometimes some of the things that we normally do can exasperate some issues at landfills."

Paetzold says as things change, whether it's technology, or new materials that change the way they fight a fire, it's important they respond accordingly. "This is just another step in putting some more tools in our toolbox and some other information when we make decisions  on how we fight certain fires."