More Aircraft to Join the Wildfire Battle
A contingent of Firefighters from out of province arrive at Prince George Airport. – photo 250News
Prince George, B.C.- The BC Wildfire Service is beefing up its aircraft to support those working on the ground to battle the fires in the province.
The BC Wildfire Service has a fleet of 32 contracted aircraft and nearly 200 additional contracted helicopters that have already joined the fight. Ten firefighting aircraft have been brought in from other Canadian provinces, including seven airtankers and three “birddog” aircraft which help co-ordinate airtanker operations from the air.
Just over 300 firefighters are already starting to arrive in B.C. . The largest contingent (147) is out of Ontario, while Alberta is sending 92, Saskatchewan: 37, New Brunswick is sending 22 , and a further 12 are from Parks Canada. Assistant Deputy Minister of Emergency Management B.C., Robert Turner says there are some experts among those coming to B.C. “For example, we have four emergency management experts arriving tomorrow from Alberta who have particular experience from their season last year ( Fort McMurray) and we’ll be taking advantage of their expertise and learning.”
The BC Wildfire Service also has arrangements with dozens of companies from all regions of the province to provide contract firefighters and support staff. As of today, the BC Wildfire Service had over 200 contract personnel working on wildfires, that is in addition to the 1600 BC Wildfire service firefighters and support staff in place for this fire season
The Canadian military is also prepared to help and has Joint Task Force Pacific liaisons embedded at the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre in Victoria. Emergency Management BC worked with Public Safety Canada to pre-position transport aircraft and crews through a formal Request for Assistance. If the need arises, these aircraft would assist with emergency response operations such as evacuations. Emergency Management B.C.’s Robert Turner says the military aircraft would only be used as a last resort should all ground transportation routes be impassable.