Ontario Sending Firefighting Personnel to B.C.
Vancouver, B.C. – Wildfires continue to rage throughout the province of British Columbia but help is on the way from Ontario.
B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson confirmed the news in a media conference in Vancouver this afternoon.
“We’ve been looking for additional resources outside B.C. to help out and we’re set to receive 70 firefighting personnel from Ontario,” he said. “60 will be firefighters while the other 10 will be specialized firefighting personnel.”
He added the fire danger rating throughout B.C. remains “high to extreme” but also encouraged residents to do what they can to help prevent human caused wildfires.
“We need everyone to do their part. If you’re a smoker may sure you extinguish your cigarette and if you’re riding your ATV in the back-country be aware of the tinder-dry conditions.”
Fire information officer Kurtis Isfeld with the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch noted there are currently 184 wildfires burning in the province and with the hot and dry weather in the forecast predicted there would be at least 30 new starts a day for the foreseeable future.
To date, he said the provincial government has spent just over $90 million on fighting wildfires, which is significantly higher than the $63 million the Province had budgeted for at the beginning of the year.
Isfeld said there are currently 9 fires that have “triggered some form of Evacuation Alert or Order,” including the Petitot River fire 115 km northeast of Fort Nelson which was downgraded to an Evacuation Alert last night.
From a resource and preparedness perspective, he added “the availability of resources is at a critical level,” and said “any significant increase in fire load will be difficult to manage.”
As such, Isfeld said they have begun prioritizing fires based “on human life and safety, property, critical values, critical habitat and timber.”
But he also noted the safety of “our responders will come first and foremost.”