Over the next few days, British Columbia is welcoming over 330 wildfire personnel from around the country to help B.C. fire crews tackle increased fire activity.
Five 20-person sustained action crews from Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories will be arriving today. Thirty-two wildfire personnel will arrive tomorrow, and a further ten 20-person sustained action crews and a number of agency representatives are expected to arrive on Thursday, Aug. 26 from Ontario.
The personnel will work mainly in the Cariboo and Northwest Fire Centres, but placement will also be determined based on fire activity and anticipated need. It is important that some firefighting crews remain on standby in all fire centres in case new fires start. Additional crews will also ensure firefighting staff receive required time off in accordance with safety regulations.
The Wildfire Management Branch continues to use available B.C. contract firefighters on the fireline. Currently over 1,600 contract firefighters and industry personnel are working in fire suppression around B.C.
All deployments are co-ordinated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, 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, and weather forecasters are expecting no significant rain in the coming days. However, cooler conditions and scattered showers over the weekend may help decrease fire behaviour.
Right now, 269 wildfires are burning in the province. Since April 1, crews around the province have responded to over 1,400 wildfires, of which 590 have been human-caused, 891 have been lightning-caused and 12 are still under investigation. To date, these fires have burned over 270,000 hectares.
For the latest information on fire activity, conditions and prohibitions, visit www.firesafebc.ca
You can also follow the latest wildfire news on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo
If you see smoke or flames, please call *5555 on your cellphone or toll- free to 1 800 663-5555.