British Columbia is rotating in fresh personnel from Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario to help B.C. fire crews as warm, dry weather continues to increase fire activity around the province.
Fifteen 20-person sustained action unit crews will begin arriving on Sunday, August 15. These personnel will be replacing the outgoing crews, who have reached their maximum amount of allowable work days and must return to their home provinces. One hundred of the sustained action crews already in B.C. will be departing this weekend, while an additional 220 will be going back home later this week.
Of the 3,299 personnel dedicated to the fire suppression efforts around the province, 2,732 are B.C. resources, including 927 local contract firefighters. The out-of-province crews will be used in Type 1 roles and for highly specialized duties, typically serving on Incident Management Teams. The assistance from agencies outside of the province augments B.C.'s initial attack capacity and does not take work away from local qualified and available companies.
The crews will be placed mainly to the Cariboo Fire Centre, but that will also be determined based on fire activity and anticipated need. It is important that some firefighting crews be on standby in all fire centres in case new fires start.
The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre is co-ordinating all deployments, with the Ministry of Forests and Range's Wildfire Management Branch paying the costs of the deployments. Earlier this year, British Columbia sent crews to four other jurisdictions to help with their firefighting efforts.
The fire danger rating for most of British Columbia is high to extreme. The hot and dry weather is expected to continue through the coming week in many areas of the province, particularly the Southern and Central Interior regions.
Right now, 262 wildfires are burning in the province, most of which have started in the last couple of weeks. Since April 1, crews around the province have responded to 1,409 wildfires, of which 551 have been human-caused, 847 lightning-caused, and 11 are still undetermined. These fires have burned a total of 159,737 hectares.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit www.firesafebc.ca
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If you see smoke or flames, please call *5555 on your cell or toll-free 1 800 663-5555.