NEWS
08/27/2015 12:04 EDT | Updated 08/27/2016 01:12 EDT

Washington Stickpin wildfire effort gets help from Shelburne native

A firefighter originally from Nova Scotia now fighting the wildfires burning in British Columbia, says it's a struggle to stay ahead of the rampant flames.

The fire is destroying homes, parks and thousands of acres of trees.

Dana Hicks is a firefighter originally from Shelburne, N.S., who now lives in Prince George, B.C. He's a fire management specialist with the B.C. Wildfire Service and says the battle against the flames is non-stop.

"Fire does what it wants to do on the landscape and in the extreme drought conditions that we're in this summer, it just seems to be running rampant across the landscape. We're kind of chasing our tails trying to catch up to it," said Hicks. 

"Basically I'm sitting and should be looking at mountains, but all I see is smoke. Sitting in the parking lot there's ash falling on my truck. Visibility is probably less than a kilometre," said Hicks. 

The fires are accelerated by extreme drought conditions in the region that allows trees to ignite almost in an instant and the fires to spread quickly. 

"I'm sitting and looking out at hard wood trees that should have green leaves on them and right now they're brown. They're not brown from the dormancy of the fall, they're brown because they're drought stricken," Hicks said. 

Hicks and a team of firefighters are crossing the border each morning and fighting the Kettle Complex fire in the eastern part of Washington State, which consists of four separate fires.

They're also working on the most northern fire, called the Stickpin, which is about 20,234 hectares in size and threatening to cross the border into Grand Forks, B.C., and surrounding communities. 

"We've come in and we're starting to manage the northern part of the fire so it doesn't impact our values or our community," Hicks said. 

With nearly all of Western Canada burning, Hicks and his team say they're starting to feel exhausted.

But he says there's an end in sight, both for the firefighters and for the people living in the communities they're trying to save. 

"It's taxing on [the residents] and they don't know where the fire is, they just know there's a lot of smoke in the community, so it's pretty extreme," Hicks said. 

This year, the wildfires in British Columbia have destroyed about 300,000 hectares of land.