NEWS/ WILDFIRES — As the risk of more wildfires in B.C. once again rises, there’s more help on the way.
Hot and dry weather conditions have raised fire danger ratings throughout the province, with many areas of B.C. experiencing “high” and “extreme” ratings. Because dry forest fuels are very susceptible to ignition and lightning is expected in the northeast and interior regions of the province over the long weekend, firefighting crews are on standby in all six of B.C.’s fire centres.
Seventy crew members from Ontario and Quebec will arrive in B.C. over the next week. They will include firefighters and an Incident Management Team and support staff, and will be deployed throughout the province based on wildfire activity, said the Wildfire Management Branch.
The province has also increased its airtanker capacity. An Electra L-188 airtanker has been brought in on a short-term contract and is stationed in Penticton. An airtanker group from Alberta, consisting of four CL-215T amphibious skimmers, one bird dog aircraft and an air attack officer, will arrive in Prince George on Monday.
They join more than 1,400 provincial staff, nearly 660 B.C. contractors, more than 500 out-of-province personnel and eight airtanker groups that are already engaged in fire-response efforts in B.C.
The requests for additional assistance were made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates the mutual sharing of firefighting resources between B.C. and other Canadian jurisdictions. Costs associated with the requests will be covered by B.C. under the Mutual Aid Resources Sharing Agreement, which allows for the movement of firefighting resources throughout Canada.
The Wildfire Management Branch has responded to 812 wildfires so far this season. There are currently 12 active fires of note burning within the boundaries of the Prince George, Kamloops, Southeast and Northwest fire centres.