CFAV Firebird (YTR 561)

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YTR561 Firebird in Halifax.jpg
CFAV Firebird in Halifax
Name: Firebird
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Builder: Vancouver Shipyards
Commissioned: 1978
Out of service: 4 December 2014
Homeport: CFB Halifax
Identification: YTR 561
Status: Declared surplus, awaiting disposal
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Fire-class fireboat
Displacement: 140 tonnes (138 long tons)
Length: 23.1 m (75 ft 9 in)
Beam: 6.4 m (21 ft)
Draught: 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Speed: 11 knots (13 mph; 20 km/h)
Complement: 5
Equipment: 3 × manually-controlled 3-inch (7.6 cm) water cannon
2 × diesel-driven fire pumps, 2,500 gpm at 150 psi each

CFAV Firebird is a Fire-class fireboat in the Royal Canadian Navy designed by Robert Allan Ltd.. Firebird is based in CFB Halifax, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[1] Her sister ship CFAV Firebrand is based in CFB Esquimalt.

Her three water cannons can fire water, or fire suppressant foam from her two 250 gallon tanks.[1]

Design and construction[edit]

According to the Canadian American Strategic Review the class was designed by naval architects Robert Allan Limited, and were built at Vancouver Shipyards in North Vancouver in 1978,[2] and later acquired by the Canadian Forces.

The two ships displaced 140 tonnes (138 long tons) and were 23.1 metres (75 ft 9 in) long, with a beam of 6.4 metres (21 ft) and a draught of 2.6 metres (8 ft 6 in). The ships were powered by two 365 horsepower (272 kW) azimuthing Z-drives and one hydraulic tunnel bow thruster. This gave the vessels a maximum speed of 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph). The ships had a crew of five firefighters.[3]

The Fire class was equipped with three manually-controlled 3-inch (76 mm) water cannons, two diesel-driven fire pumps capable of expending 2,500 gpm at 150 psi each.

Operational history[edit]

On 22 March 2001 a large container vessel, Kitano, one day out of New York City, requested help fighting an onboard fire after she had gone to sea.[4] Because of the extreme weather, Firebird was unable to leave the protected waters of Halifax Harbour to go to Kitano's aid; larger Navy vessels were dispatched instead.

Firebird suppressed a serious fire in HMCS Toronto's engine room in 2005.[1] In 2008, the firefighting ship aided the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency department in extinguishing a fire aboard a former Canadian Coast Guard ship.[5]

In January 2014 it was announced that Firebird's time available for firefighting operations would be cut back due to budget reductions and that all operations on weekends would be suspended.[5] It was announced that on 4 December 2014, Firebird was taken out of service and declared surplus.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Canadian Forces Small Ships — the Fire class YTR Rescue Boats". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b vanKampen, Stephanie (10 December 2014). "Royal Canadian Navy cuts fire service in Halifax Harbour". CBC News. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Marine Investigation Report, Container Fire, Container Vessel Kitano, Off Chebucto Head, Nova Scotia, 22 March 2001" (PDF). Transportation Safety Board of Canada. 28 January 2003. Retrieved 13 February 2008. The wind and sea conditions stopped the fire tug CFAV Firebird from proceeding beyond the middle harbour and prevented the other surface SAR vessels from getting alongside the vessel for any length of time to assist. 
  5. ^ a b "Navy slashes fire service in Halifax Harbour". CBC News. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.