As of Monday morning, over 600 wildfires are still raging across B.C. (and over 30 right here on Vancouver Island), and widespread emergency crews have been tirelessly battling the blazes.
Since the hot weather and dry conditions are expected to prevail and lead to further risks of the fires spreading, the province of BC is asking for additional resources from the federal government and assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces.
“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.
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“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.”
At the moment, almost 3,500 personnel are working to contain the wildfires, including BC Wildfire Service crews, contractors, municipal firefighters, industry personnel and out-of-province crews from throughout Canada, as well as Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
Around 3,100 people have already been evacuated, with an evacuation advisory in place for approximately 17,900 others.
Here is what the province is requesting:
- Two hundred self-sufficient personnel to perform the mop-up and patrol of contained fires, under 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.
As always, the public is urged to remain cautious and vigilant while in the outdoors. To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call *5555 on a cellphone, or 1 800 663-5555, toll-free.