Federal government steps in to provide support to fight BC wildfires

Aug 13 2018, 8:24 pm

With nearly 600 wildfires burning across BC, the provincial government has reached out to the federal government, requesting assistance with firefighting efforts.

As of the morning of August 13, there were 27 evacuation orders affecting nearly 3,100 people (1,537 properties). This is in addition to 43 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 17,900 people (8,909 properties).

“This is an urgent situation, and the safety of British Columbians is our highest priority,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a release.

“Due to the increase in the number of wildfires affecting communities and the extreme wildfire behaviour we are seeing, we’re asking for federal assistance for additional resources that may be needed to protect the public, property and infrastructure.”

The Province of British Columbia is requesting:

  • 200 self-sufficient personnel to perform the mop-up and patrol of contained fires, under the supervision of the BC Wildfire Service
  • Heavy-lift aircraft to reposition wildfire crews and equipment to new fire starts that threaten communities. These aircraft will assist with the resupply of existing operations (fire camps, air bases, etc.), which will permit BC Wildfire Service aircraft to be directed to the firefighting effort from resupply tasks
  • Aircraft for emergency transport of injured personnel and to help evacuate people in remote areas, should evacuation routes be compromised

Federal Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale, tweeted this afternoon that the feds will assist BC in putting out the wildfires.

“We have accepted an official request for assistance from the Province of BC to help in the fight against the wildfires. Through air support and personnel, the Government of Canada will support affected communities and First Responders who are courageously taking on this battle,” said Goodale in a tweet.

There are over 3,400 wildlife personnel responding to nearly 600 wildfires burning across the province. Crews include personnel from the BC Wildfire Service crews, contractors, municipal firefighters, out-of-province crews from throughout Canada, as well as Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

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